Friday, April 17, 2009

Georgetown Covers Its Faith For Obama

When President Obama went to Georgetown University, his advance team had a special request. They wanted all religious symbols covered in the area in which Obama was to speak, in order to have a neutral backdrop for his speech. Fox News reports as follows.
"Georgetown University spokeswoman Julie Green Bataille tells Cybercast News "the White House wanted a simple backdrop... consistent with what they've done for other policy speeches."

The monogram "IHS" — which comes from the Greek for Jesus — was covered with a triangle of black-painted plywood. Catholic League president Bill Donohue says: "The cowardice of Georgetown to stand fast on principle tells us more than we need to know... but the bigger story is the audacity of the Obama administration to ask a religious school to neuter itself before the president speaks there."

The White House Director of Specialty Media Shin (Spin?) Inouye countered that the White House was simply seeking a neutral background of American flags that is standard for all presidential speeches.

There are many besides Phil Donahue who feel that the request of the White House was overbearing. A person who wants to speak with no religious symbols as a backdrop is free to do so. But to enter a religious establishment and to ask them to modify their decor reeks of arrogance.

The majority of Americans are at least nominally Christian. The majority of Americans celebrate a list of holidays that are Christian in origin. The extreme effort to expunge religious symbols and decorations from the public arena has little to do with America's hallowed traditions of religious freedom and tolerance. To the contrary, it is itself a form of intolerance.

Even a vacuum has physical properties. In the cultural sphere, a value free religion free domain will assume some characteristics of a value system. The rigor with which the faith of America's majority is being banished from the public arena is intrusive and almost obsessive. It is taking on an air of zealotry that leaves many ill at ease.

William Donahue and I come from very different religious backgrounds. We would probably disagree heatedly about many theological and historical issues. But I share his indignation at our government and our President's increasing disrespect for the private spaces of religious institutions. In defending his religious freedom, I am ultimately defending my own.

If President Obama or anyone else is offended by the religious decor of Georgetown University, let them speak elsewhere. There are enough neutral spaces in which to speak. There will be no hard feelings if people gather there.

It would be a healthy show of checks on unlimited power pride for America's President to be reminded that he must respect the people who elected him as well as their choices of faith. Even a President is limited in what he may request of citizens. It is likely that in the future, Obama will be reminded of this most profoundly American duty that is incumbent upon the President. It would be good for him and for us all if he learns this lesson quickly. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Ju said...

Obama: There can only be one, 'One'.

Some people have argued that Obama does not want to use religion to further a political ideology. However, Obama did evoke the Sermon on the Mount, at this Georgetown appearance, to further his economic agenda. Although Obama failed to mention Jesus Christ by name for the 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.”

The last statement is particularly ironic since building your house upon a ‘ROCK‘ means to build your house with Christ as the foundation. Obama decided to blot out the real foundation from the timeless parable.

See the hi-res pictures: