When President Barack Obama spoke at Georgetown University in April, the White House requested that all religious symbols and signage that might appear as a backdrop to where the president was to speak be covered up. Georgetown acceded to the request and made sure that the symbol “IHS,” a monogram of the name of Jesus Christ, was not in sight. A Georgetown official said the initial backdrop “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.”
The cowardice of Georgetown to stand fast on principle told us more than we need to know about what is going on there, but the bigger story is the audacity of the Obama administration to ask a religious school to neuter itself before the president spoke there.
No bishop who might speak at the White House would ever request a crucifix be displayed behind him. Moreover, the same church and state fanatics who go nuts every time a polling place is set up in the basement of a Catholic school were silent over this incident.
We noted that the president is in enough trouble with Catholics—over his pro-abortion executive orders and appointees, his position on embryonic stem cell research and his war on the conscience rights of healthcare workers—that it seemed almost suicidal for his administration to push the envelope as they did at Georgetown.
Following the president’s Georgetown speech, the Catholic Left organization Catholic Democrats flagged the story on the homepage of its website. Although the group covered Obama’s speech, it never once mentioned that the White House requested to cover up Catholic iconography. Instead, the group praised his speech.
For Catholic Democrats to ignore the story about the White House’s request is appalling. But it came as no surprise: in the May edition of Catalyst, Bill Donohue warned that the Catholic Left has lost its moorings. It’s simply amazing that the Catholic Left has no shame.