Thursday, April 16, 2009
Obama and the IHS Monogram
I'm not too far out of line with Bernie Goldberg when he told Hannity this week of Obama that "we have to stop going out of our way to find fault with every single thing he does..."
Lord knows I bash him plenty, and while I sometimes get carried away, I try to stick to policy issues. Otherwise we will truly look like a bunch of "right wing extremists" with no legitimacy to our actual complaints which do have merit.
So the CNS News story this morning about The White House asking Georgetown to cover the IHS monogram on the pediment for Obama's speech on Tuesday seems a little over blown. CNS reminds us that "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."
The White House explanation is that they wanted a simple backdrop of flags and drape as in previous speeches. Reasonable enough. Kathryn Jean Lopez suggests that given this, Georgetown might have suggested that the speech be held elsewhere. The symbol could be offensive to some non-Christians, and Obama has reminded us that we are not a Christian nation. However, the IHS monogram is evident in the hall over 20 other places not visible to the television cameras as he speaks.
But I don't think this move is unprecedented. I don't want to post somebody's Flickr photo without permission, but if you go here, you will see the IHS monogram clearly covered by a similar, if not identical, piece of black plywood for a Mr. Georgetown pageant.
So I don't think that Obama or The White House has done anything especially remarkable here. I think as conservatives we would do well to stick to real issues. There are certainly enough to choose from where this administration gives offense without picking the insignificant things. I admit, to some, this is not insignificant, and I don't mean to make light of it. Some will assert that it points to a growing trend of anti-Christian messages by this administration. If that's the case, lets make the point for that, but not in a petty way.