Found at Catholic News Agency. My comments are in red.
Washington D.C., Apr 16, 2009 / 05:15 pm (CNA).- Georgetown University’s decision to comply with a White House request to cover up the “IHS” monogram representing Jesus' name at President Obama’s speech on Wednesday is drawing fire from the Cardinal Newman Society and Georgetown students, who are charging the university with “sacrificing” its “Catholic and Jesuit identity.” (No shit!)
Reports surfaced today from attendees at President Obama's speech on the economy that the White House asked Georgetown University to cover up several emblems, including an IHS monogram above the president's head during his speech at the Jesuit university. (This request came from staff of a Chief Executive who touted his "Christian beliefs" in his books and on the campaign trail. Interesting.)
Although President Obama focused his speech on his administration’s plans to spur economic growth, some in attendance noticed that the IHS monogram—an early 3rd century abbreviation for the name of Jesus—was covered up for the speech.
CNA attempted to confirm the report with Georgetown officials, but no one available for comment before press time. (Hiding under their desks probably, wondering how to spin this sucker.)
However, Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at the university, told CNSNews.com that the covering up of Jesus' name was prompted by “logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event.” (WTF kinda doubletalk is that?) According to Bataille, “Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage.” (And if they'd said "No" what would the result have been? B.O. is already taking heat about his upcoming speech at Notre Shame/Dame, think he'd rock the boat any on this issue?)
She said the “signage and symbols” were covered up because “the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross” and that it seemed more “respectful to have them covered” (Respectful to who?) so that viewers wouldn’t see them “out of context.”
Patrick Reilly, the President of the Cardinal Newman Society, reacted to the report by telling CNA that Georgetown’s decision is another “outrageous example of a Catholic university sacrificing principle for prestige.”
He wondered what the White House will request next month at Notre Dame’s commencement and said, “Christians simply cannot hide our faith in a drawer to satisfy an American president who shows no respect for Catholic identity or values.” (Bingo!)
Georgetown students were also outraged by the University’s actions. (Good news, there are some students with backbone, morals & brains.)
Paul Courtney, a Catholic Georgetown student and President of the Georgetown College Republicans, was an attendee at the Wednesday speech. He called the move “disheartening” and “sad” that the University would sacrifice its “Catholic and Jesuit identity” by covering the monogram. (I admire his restraint.)
Courtney didn’t notice that the symbol was covered, and explained that “one of my professors pointed it out to me afterwards when we were discussing the event.” (Understandable, when you're used to something being in a certain place you may overlook it's absence the first time.)
Courtney hypothesized that the White House made the request because, “President Obama didn't want any symbols to appear in the photo that might suggest that there's any higher authority than him.” (Ouch! I wouldn't slam a shithouse door that hard! Wonder who he voted for last November?)
Last year, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at Georgetown and “none of the stage was shrouded,” added Courtney. (Go figure.)
CNA attempted to reach Georgetown’s College Democrats for comment, but they were also not available in time for publication. (Must be a lot of room under those desks.)
Another Catholic student, Dave Gregory, who heads the Knights of Columbus council at Georgetown, said the University has covered up religious imagery for “High Holy Days and non-Catholic religious services” on the “infrequent occasion” that the services are held in Gaston Hall, the site of Obama’s speech. (Yeah, that's also understandable. Accomodating other religious beliefs and placing yours second to a temporal power are different.)
Gregory told CNA that President Obama's visit was “by no means contingent upon the covering of the IHS,” saying that he strongly doubted that “Obama's staff would have canceled the event.” (My thoughts exactly. But probably for different reasons.)
Georgetown’s decision to cover up the symbol did not surprise Gregory either, who said he thought it is “a bit shameful that they did so, as Georgetown has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.” (Now they do.)
Gregory said he believes that the White House and Georgetown’s administration are just trying to “produce excuses and rationalize their inappropriate decision,” and that he would not be surprised if there is more to the matter than is being shared with the media.
Here's my thinking; weren't early Christians often martyred because they refused to place Christ second to Caesar? If I remember correctly, the Romans were okay with just about all religious beliefs as long as the guy in Rome got top billing. Something about that First Commandment kinda got in the way though, the bit about "...strange gods before me." So if it was so important then isn't it equally important now?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Found at Catholic News Agency. My comments are in red.