Apparently there can only be one Messiah: and it isn’t Jesus. When Barack Obama appeared at Georgetown University this week, a reference to Jesus was covered at the request of the White House….
Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”–symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the “IHS” monogram that had previously adorned the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was still covered up–when the pediment where it had appeared was photographed by CNSNews.com.
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From The Washington Times
When President Obama gave his economics speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday, several folks noticed something was missing.
That “something” was an ancient monogram — the letters IHS — that symbolizes the name of Jesus. It was missing from a wooden archway above the dais in Gaston Hall where the president delivered his 45-minute speech.
The gold-lettered monogram appeared near a painting of three female figures — symbolizing morality, faith and patriotism — and decorative edging along the wall that spelled out the Jesuit motto “Ad majorem Dei gloriam”—”To the greater glory of God.” Georgetown was founded by the Jesuits.
Some of them may have been turning in their graves in the cemetery across campus at the sight of the missing monogram which looked like a blacked-out space above a blue backdrop and a row of American flags flanking the nation’s chief executive. Was Georgetown selling short its Catholic heritage, we wondered.
I contacted the university this morning to ask why the monogram — in this post-Easter season — was hidden as its absence had been noted by several bloggers, including Dawn Eden — formerly of the New York Post — on her dawn patrol blog.
Julie Bataille from the university’s press office e-mailed me that the White House had asked that all university signage and symbols behind the stage in Gaston Hall be covered.
“The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches,” she wrote. “Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.”
I also noticed the Free Republic blog had photos comparing “before” and “after” depictions of the unfortunate monogram, which the university covered with what looks like a black cloth.
Not every Catholic institution would have caved to quite this extent. Victor Nakas, spokesman for Catholic University, e-mailed me to say several presidents have visited CUA and the most recent administration official to speak there was then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
“I can’t imagine, as the bishops’ university and the national university of the Catholic Church, that we would ever cover up our religious art or signage for any reason,” Mr. Nakas wrote. “Our Catholic faith is integral to our identity as an institution of higher education.
I called the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Institute at Georgetown University, who was at the speech, as to what he thought.
“It is more for camera quality than anything else,” he surmised. “They don’t want distractions that would make the eye wander. I don’t think this is motivated by theology, but by communications strategy.”
Students “were dying to get into the hall,” he added. “There is this great enthusiasm for Obama especially among Catholic young people. The conservatives don’t know how to deal with this.
“The audience wanted to cheer and cheer this very professorial address. He played Professor Obama. He’s a damn good professor but not even he could make economics a barnraiser.”
– Julia Duin, religion editor (with lots of help from deputy national editor Victor Morton)
What Others Are Saying:
Imagine if Obama were to give a speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. Would members of that community approve the covering of the Shahada?
Not only was this step taken by the White House advance team, Obama himself mangled a parable from the Sermon on the Mount about two houses, one built on sand only to be blown away in a storm, and another built on rock impervious to the swirling winds.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, addresses the National Press Club April 28, 2008 in Washington, DC. He once said “God damn America” during a “sermon” and was Barack Obama’s spiritual advisor until one year ago…. Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty
Notre Dame President Has No Problem With Obama On Abortions Because The Prez is Not Catholic?
University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said in a letter to trustees that the university’s invitation to President Obama to deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree is in keeping with “both the letter and the spirit” of a 2004 statement by U.S. bishops known as “Catholics in Public Life,” the AP/WSBT.com reports. Jenkins said that the university’s decision was based on an interpretation of the statement “supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of church teaching can act in ‘defiance’ of it.” Under this interpretation, “Catholics in Public Life” would not apply to Obama, who is Protestant.
Notre Dame President Explains Obama Invite
The University of Notre Dame’s selection of President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker follows the “letter and spirit” of a statement passed by U.S. bishops in 2004 and cited frequently by critics as a reason Obama should not have been invited, the school’s president says.
In a letter to trustees, the Rev. John Jenkins said university officials believe the statement, known as “Catholics in Political Life,” refers specifically to honoring Catholics whose actions are not in accord with the church’s moral principles. Obama is Protestant.
“This interpretation was supported by canon lawyers we consulted, who advised us that, by definition, only Catholics who implicitly recognize the authority of Church teaching can act in ‘defiance’ of it,” Jenkins wrote in the letter last week. “Moreover, fellow university presidents have told me that their bishops have told them that in fact it is only Catholic politicians who are referred to in this document.”
From the South bend Tribune
Read the rest:
Archbishop “Appalled” By Obama Invitation; Position on Abortion at Issue
Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein has added his voice to “the chorus of faithful Catholics” objecting to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to make President Barack Obama the featured speaker at the school’s May 17 commencement.
In a letter to Notre Dame President the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Buechlein said he was “appalled and embarrassed” by the invitation, given that Obama’s views and actions on abortion and embryonic stem cell research are “blatantly opposed to the Catholic Church’s doctrine.”
Read the rest from the IndyStar: