www.byzcath.org

Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request

Posted By: Monomakh

Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 01:18 PM

www.cnsnews.com/public/checker.aspx?rsrcID=46667

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.

“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told CNSNews.com.

“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 added. “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.”

On Wednesday, CNSNews.com inspected the pediment embedded in the wall at the back of the stage in Gaston Hall, where Obama delivered his speech. The letters “IHS” were not to be found. They appeared to be shrouded with a triangle of black-painted plywood.

Pictures of the wooden pediment prior to Obama’s speech show the letters “IHS" in gold. Many photos posted on the Internet of other events at Gaston Hall show the letters clearly.

The White House did not respond to a request from CNSNews.com to comment on the covering up of Jesus’ name at Gaston Hall.

Georgetown, which is run by the Jesuit order, is one of the most prestigious Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Roman Catholics traditionally use “IHS” as an abbreviation for Jesus’ name. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Ignatius of Loyola adopted the monogram in his seal as general of the Society of Jesus (1541) and thus became the emblem of his institute.” The Society of Jesus is the formal name for the Jesuits.

Although the monogram was covered over on the wooden pediment at the back of the Gaston Hall stage where it would have been directly above and behind President Obama as he spoke, the letters “IHS” are posted elsewhere around the hall approximately 26 times on shields representing different parts of the United States and the world.

Obama 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,’” Obama said.

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

Posted By: asianpilgrim

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 03:19 PM

Whatever happened to the Society of JESUS?
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 03:33 PM

It seems by such an action to have become apostate!
Stephanos I
Posted By: DewiMelkite

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 04:15 PM

“We must build our house upon a rock.”

Certainly Mr Obama, on a foundation of faith and truth and respect for humal life! ... I am so sick of him already
Posted By: stivvy

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 04:59 PM

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46667

Quote
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.


See website for pictures...
Posted By: Deacon Robert Behrens

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/16/09 06:35 PM

Originally Posted by Stephanos I
It seems by such an action to have become apostate!
Stephanos I


I did my diaconal formation with the RC Archdiocese of Philadelphia since my Eparchy (Passaic) did not have its own program at the time. The director of the formation program once got up and addressed us as a group saying "I am now going to read to you from a poem written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a man who was a Jesuit AND a Catholic". We can see by the lack of Catholic identity at most Jesuit educational institutions that what was said of Hopkins has, in our time, become an exception rather than a rule.

Dn. Robert
Posted By: Chtec

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 12:52 AM

Originally Posted by Deacon Robert Behrens
We can see by the lack of Catholic identity at most Jesuit educational institutions that what was said of Hopkins has, in our time, become an exception rather than a rule.


Deacon Bob reminds me of a venerable parable:

A man once wanted a Mercedes very, very badly. Alas, he did not have enough money. He thought that the best way of getting an expensive automobile was to have a novena prayed for this intention.

He approached an old Benedictine monk. "Father, can you pray a novena that I can get a Mercedes?" The monk was puzzled and replied "What's a Mercedes?" The man explained, and the Benedictine said he could not pray for such a thing.

Undeterred, the man went to a Franciscan friar and asked the same question: "Father, can you pray a novena that I can get a Mercedes?" The good friar looked confused and replied "What's a Mercedes?" The man explained, and the Franciscan said he could not pray for this.

Finally, the man went to a Jesuit. "Father, can you pray a novena that I can get a Mercedes?" The Jesuit looked as puzzled as the others and replied, "What's a novena?"


My apologies to any and all Jesuits. smile

Dave
Posted By: Pani Rose

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 02:45 AM

And Jesus said

Matthew 10:
32
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33
But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Again in Luke 12:
8
I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
9
But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/

He also says in those same verses that I have come to divide. Lord have mercy on us all!
Posted By: indigo

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 03:55 AM

It may not necessarily be an Obama thing.What was the reason given by the White House for the request, and is it standard for all presidents speaking in any institution? However, Georgetown did definitely made a choice that doesn't reflect well on them.
Posted By: stormshadow

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 03:36 PM

I think that Georgetown made a choice as well. Can't anybody stand up to this administration?

Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 04:12 PM

It is the duty of the local bishop to do this.
He might not have jurisdiction over the internal affairs of the Jesuits but he certainly does over external matters.
Plus he could refuse to have Jesuits in his territory, thus necessitating the closure of their institutions.
Stephanos I
Posted By: stivvy

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 04:39 PM

Originally Posted by indigo
It may not necessarily be an Obama thing.What was the reason given by the White House for the request, and is it standard for all presidents speaking in any institution? However, Georgetown did definitely made a choice that doesn't reflect well on them.


Please provide a story that shows evidence of another whitehouse that requests ALL faith symbols covered. I understand the backdrop thing, but other symbols in the building that are symbols of faith? Come on...

Reminds me of a vampire thing..."Cover all the crosses, because I cannot survive staring at one, I may melt!"
Posted By: Jean Francois

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 05:08 PM

The office of the President of the United States of America should not be seen endorsing one religion in particular. The president is a Christian, but he goes to great lengths not to endorse one denomination of the faith over others. I doubt that he is anti-Catholic, and I also doubt that his staff is anti-Catholic. It should be noted that not only religious, but also corporate and many other types of logos are routinely removed from the podium when the president is speaking. How many of you would appreciate JW or Mormon symbols being displayed on a podium when the president speaks ? The answer of course is none of you. Other politicians act similarly. Mitt Romney does EVERYTHING possible not to be seen promoting the Mormon Faith because the American electorate does not want a president who would be promoting his faith over that others.

I.F.
Posted By: Terry Bohannon

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 05:27 PM

It's difficult to know the intent or how much thought was put into it. The immediate request could have originated from a team of minders who were staging up the speech. What was the speech about?

Terry
Posted By: stivvy

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/17/09 05:32 PM

Not about promoting the faith. If he doesn't want to be associated with his surrounding that he puts himself into then don't speak at them. Why speak in a building that is adorned with a faith expression in mind and try and hide it's adornment?

That goes for anyone, but Obahma goes the extra steps. In Europe, he made it a point to point out the Muslim (mis)faith and even went out of his way to praise his upbringing in it.

He is no more Christian than my dog is, IMHO. His actions prove that. Backing and promoting baby killing, showing shame for faith symbols, luke warm to if not cold to, if not blaintently out to destroy all that the Catholic church stands for.
Posted By: johnzonaras

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/18/09 04:28 AM

It is nice to see some one respond with some thought rather than a knee jerk reaction.
Posted By: Erie Byz

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/18/09 05:34 AM

I think it's good that Catholic symbols were covered up. I know many people are thinking, "Are you nuts, he's speaking at a Catholic University?" I just might be, but that's not the point right now ;-) Anyways, I'm assuming they chose GU because it's an academic setting with high quality facilities, with that being said I think for Catholic identity it is good to cover up the symbols. Right now many Catholic are trying to disassociate themselves with the President over his views regarding issues of life and since this is the case why would we want overtly Catholic symbols being "advertised" with him, it would seem as almost an endorsement from Catholicism. We could look at it by GU saying "ok, we'll let him use our facilities because he is the President, but we do not want to associate our Catholic identity with his viewpoints," it would be yielding to the office and not the person. I hope these ramblings make as much sense as they did in my head.
Posted By: indigo

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/18/09 08:36 AM

Amen,Jean Francois and johnzanaras!
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/18/09 03:01 PM

It seems to me that politicians - including President Obama - are always eager to gain the implicit endorsement that comes with speaking at universities and religious institutions.

It also seems to me that such universities and religious institutions should never cover up their message, and as Catholics our message to the world is Jesus Christ.

If any politician is uncomfortable with the symbols of the place he is visiting he ought to go somewhere else to speak. It is certainly logical for Catholic institutions to welcome pro-life politicians and shun pro-death politicians. President Obama could have been invited to a debate on the issues, one in which the Christian viewpoint was also expressed. But a pulpit at a Catholic university was inappropriate as a venue for much of his pro-death platform. Pray for the president, and for all of our elected leaders. That they may find Christ and respect life.
Posted By: Lawrence

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Request - 04/18/09 04:54 PM


Catholic institutions are not public forums. If an individual's views are publicly known to be contrary to that of the Church's, they should not be allowed to speak there, period.
Posted By: Latin Catholic

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/18/09 07:00 PM

Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra

Georgetown University hides a relatively little-known Christian symbol (the letters IHS, which are far less known and less recognizable than, say, a crucifix) during Pres. Obama's speech. From the comments so far, it is clear that this is offensive to many Catholics and many separated Christian brethren. It seems their ire is directed in equal measure at the White House and Georgetown University.

Who does Pres. Obama think might be offended if he appeared beneath the letters IHS?

I guess it might offend some secularists, who don't want to see any sign of religion in the public square. But aren't the secularists going to be offended anyway, because Pres. Obama spoke at a Catholic university, and even referred to the words of Jesus?

It might also offend some followers of non-Christian religions. But many followers of non-Christian religions in fact want a more prominent role for religion, not just their own but any religon, in the public square. Many devout followers of other religions tend to show respect for devout Christians.

So, by trying not to upset the delicate feelings of secularists and perhaps some followers of non-Christian religions, I would guess he has ended up offending far more people than he has pleased. Even worse, he has given the impression that he doesn't really know which values he stands for.
Posted By: Halia12

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/18/09 07:41 PM

I guess I will never understand Americans. You guys elected this man and yet he is shown such disrespect as a person. I cannot understand why you have to attact his person: why can't you just be concerned with his policies and discuss that without showing disrespect to his office as president.

By the way, the original quote that started this thread did not provide the whole story from CNN and so was misleading.
Quote
Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
By Edwin Mora

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46667

Photo of Gaston Hall stage that shows symbol "IHS" that was covered up during
President Obama's speech to accommodate a White House request. (Wikimedia photo)

(CNSNews.com) - 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.

President Obama is greeted by Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia as he arrives to deliver remarks on the economy, April 14, 2009, at Georgetown University. Georgetown had covered the symbol "IHS" on the pediment above and
behind the two men. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille,
associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told CNSNews.com.

“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 added.
“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 coveredso as not to be seen out of context.”

Pediment in Gaston Hall with "IHS" covered as photographed by CNSNews.com, April 15, 2009. (Photo by Penny Starr,CNSNews.com)

On Wednesday, CNSNews.com inspected the pediment embedded in the wall at the back of the stage in Gaston Hall, where Obama delivered his speech. The letters “IHS” were not to be found. They appeared to be shrouded with a triangle of
black-painted plywood.

Pictures of the wooden pediment prior to Obama’s speech show the letters “IHS" in gold. Many photos posted on the Internet of other events at Gaston Hall show the letters clearly.

The White House did not respond to a request from CNSNews.com to comment on the covering up of Jesus’ name at Gaston Hall.

President Obama speaking at Gaston Hall at Georgetown on April 14 with the "IHS" covered up on the pediment behind him. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Georgetown, which is run by the Jesuit order, is one of the most prestigious Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Roman Catholics traditionally use “IHS” as an abbreviation for Jesus’ name. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Ignatius of Loyola adopted the monogram in his seal as general of the Society of Jesus (1541) and thus became the emblem of his institute.” The Society of Jesus is the formal name for the
Jesuits.

Gaston Hall stage as it looked on the afternoon of April 15 with "IHS" still shrouded. (Photo by Penny Starr, CNSNews.com)

Although the monogram was covered over on the wooden pediment at the back of the Gaston Hall stage where it would have been directly above and behind President Obama as he spoke, the letters “IHS” are posted elsewhere around the hall
approximately 26 times on shields representing different parts of the United States and the world.


Obama 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,’” Obama said.

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


To me this part is significant:
“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 added.
“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.
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/18/09 07:56 PM

Quote
To me this part is significant:
“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 added.
“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.”


Frankly, to me, the bolded sentence, which I've read and re-read several times over the past few days, makes no sense.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Latin Catholic

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/18/09 08:34 PM

Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra

I agree with Neil.

"Most respectful" to whom? And who or what exactly would be "out of context"? Would it really be so bad for the world to see a picture of Pres. Obama standing beneath Christian symbols? And if he didn't want any reference to Christianity, why did Pres. Obama himself mention the words of Jesus, and why did he choose a prominent Jesuit university as the venue for his speech? It all just seems a confused muddle to me, and I am worried that Pres. Obama simply does not know what values he stands for. I wish he did, though, because it would be better for him and for all concerned.

Even though I am a Norwegian and not an American, I have great respect for the office of President of the United States of America, and I wish both the nation and Pres. Obama all the best. In our globalized world, more than ever, we need America to be prosperous and successful, for the sake of the prosperity and success of all. However, I see nothing remotely disrespectful in criticizing individual decision of Pres. Obama or his White House staff. Nor do I see anything disrespectful in drawing conclusions about the character of Pres. Obama on the basis of his decisions. And we cannot hide the fact that Pres. Obama has made some bad decisions on matters that Catholics and many separated Christian brethren care a lot about.
Posted By: Latin Catholic

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/19/09 01:02 AM

I wouldn't care to comment on other members' English-language skills, but I guess both American and Canadian may be considered varieties of English. Halia is quoting one Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications(!) at Georgetown. I'm not so sure English is Ms. Bataille's first language! wink

For example, since when is "signage" an English word? And the last quote starting with "frankly" still makes no sense to me! But then English isn't my first language, so what do I know? smile

Quote
“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told CNSNews.com.

“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 added. “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.”

Source
Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request, 15 April 2009
Posted By: Halia12

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/21/09 02:44 PM

Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
I wouldn't care to comment on other members' English-language skills, but I guess both American and Canadian may be considered varieties of English. Halia is quoting one Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications(!) at Georgetown. I'm not so sure English is Ms. Bataille's first language! wink

For example, since when is "signage" an English word? And the last quote starting with "frankly" still makes no sense to me! But then English isn't my first language, so what do I know? smile


Thank you Latin Catholic for pointing that I was not the writer but merely quoting the article. The language is awkward. Perhaps it would have been more helpful for Ms. Bataille to issue a printed statement rather than speaking off the cuff. I can see that her awkward language has only added to the confusion.



I think the points are:

1) the Georgetown University monograph was covered because part of it would not be in the picture frame and therefore it was deemed disrespectful to include only part of the monogram.



2) As stated in the article “Although the monogram was covered over on the wooden pediment at the back of the Gaston Hall stage where it would have been directly above and behind President Obama as he spoke, the letters “IHS” are posted elsewhere around the hall approximately 26 times on shields representing different parts of the United States and the world.”

Therefore, there was no attempt to cover up the monograms in the other 26 locations. To me this indicates that the White House was not trying to insult Christianity of the University as a Roman Catholic intuition.

It is unfortunate that when this thread was started the whole article from CNN with the comments from the Georgetown University Communications office was not included.

I think without the comments of Ms. Bataille, it was easy to jump to conclusions for some who are politically opposed to the current president.




Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Georgetown hides 'Jesus' for Obama Speech at White House Requ - 04/22/09 04:51 AM

Originally Posted by Halia12
Thank you Latin Catholic for pointing that I was not the writer but merely quoting the article. The language is awkward. Perhaps it would have been more helpful for Ms. Bataille to issue a printed statement rather than speaking off the cuff. I can see that her awkward language has only added to the confusion.

I think the points are:

1) the Georgetown University monograph was covered because part of it would not be in the picture frame and therefore it was deemed disrespectful to include only part of the monogram.

2) As stated in the article “Although the monogram was covered over on the wooden pediment at the back of the Gaston Hall stage where it would have been directly above and behind President Obama as he spoke, the letters “IHS” are posted elsewhere around the hall approximately 26 times on shields representing different parts of the United States and the world.”

Therefore, there was no attempt to cover up the monograms in the other 26 locations. To me this indicates that the White House was not trying to insult Christianity of the University as a Roman Catholic intuition.

It is unfortunate that when this thread was started the whole article from CNN with the comments from the Georgetown University Communications office was not included.

I think without the comments of Ms. Bataille, it was easy to jump to conclusions for some who are politically opposed to the current president.


Halia,

I agree with you that Ms Bataille's wording was awkward and think that you have done a good job of deciphering what she intended to explain.

However, I would note that the full article, including the referenced remarks, is contained in the opening post.

Many years,

Neil
© 2020 The Byzantine Forum