Obama, IHS and Georgetown University

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Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
By Edwin Mora

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
covered so 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. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
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.”

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