Hiding religiosity

Although I can see why President Obama’s decision can be seen as legitimate, as he tried to keep the church and the state separate, I still disagree with the removal of a symbol just to talk about the economy.

Founded in 1789 by Father John Carroll, Georgetown University is one of the most prestigious Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

On April 15, Cybercast News Service reported, “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 Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.”

In the same news article, Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, said “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 continued: “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.”

Although I can see why President Obama’s decision can be seen as legitimate, as he tried to keep the church and the state separate, I still disagree with the removal of a symbol just to talk about the economy.

Roman Catholics traditionally use “IHS” as an abbreviation for Jesus’ name. Georgetown University is Catholic. Why would you, as president of the United States of America, ask to remove a symbol that has played a vital role at Georgetown since the 16th century and is a significant, if not the most important, part of practicing Catholicism? In addition to that, I have to ask: Why now?

Fox News reported “It was Obama’s first visit to Georgetown since being elected president, but he also spoke at the school on Sept. 20, 2006, about the need for energy independence. A photograph of the event does not seem to indicate that parts of the stage were hidden during that address, which Obama made while still a U.S. senator. So Mr. President, why now?

Whether Obama was giving a speech on the need for energy independence or talking about the economy, as he did at Georgetown, it should be pointed out that he did not mention the name of Jesus during his address. However, he did mention Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

“There is a parable at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that tells a story of two men …‘the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house … it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock,'” President Obama said.

“We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” he added. “We must build our house upon a rock.”

I would love to give the president kudos for speaking at a Catholic university, covering the name of Jesus and quoting a little bit of the Sermon on the Mount as a metaphor for the economy. Brilliant.

Now, based on my sarcasm, one may think I am a bit anti-Obama, but that is not the case. I just think the Obama administration is trying too hard to please everyone.

Quite frankly, I do not care that much about the issue with the symbol, and perhaps I am, like most, just trying to find something to complain about.

But what I think is irrelevant—there are more important viewpoints to talk about. For example, Fox News reported that Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, “accused the university of ‘cowardice’ for acceding to the White House, and criticized Obama’s team for asking a religious school to ‘neuter itself’ before the president made his address.”

But that’s not all. Some people even compared Obama’s actions to the Nazi Holocaust. The Philadelphia Bulletin reported that Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry stated, while comparing Obama’s pro-abortion policies to the Nazi Holocaust, that “Georgetown’s attitude seems to be: Germany’s leaders built great roads in the 1930s, they helped save the banks and they rebuilt the economy. Let’s focus on their economy—not that whole genocide thing.”

Terry then went on to complain that President Obama is “spending our money to promote child killing in Africa and forced abortion in China; he is changing the conscience regulations for health workers, so that Catholic hospitals must refer for abortion, or dispense abortifacients; he has unleashed our money to pay for the creation and destruction of innocent human embryos.”

The point of this article is not about differing opinions on Obama. It is about the fact that pundits do not realize how their words can impact other people. Comparing the removal of a symbol for a good reason to that of an event that nearly eradicated an entire group of people is pretty ridiculous.

And here we are complaining about what the world thinks of the U.S., but I think President Obama is doing a huge favor for us in the eyes of the rest of the world. Think about it.