Friday, April 17, 2009

Another slap in the face to Catholicism by the Obama administration

As I listened to news reports yesterday about President Obama's visit to Georgetown University, where the "IHS" was covered, apparently at the request of the White House, I wondered if the same would have happened at halls of other major religions. Can you imagine the reaction if the White House had asked a Jewish community to cover up the star of David?

Georgetown University professor, the Rev. James V. Schall at The Catholic Thing eloquently raises this point:

What interests me here is this: If this president speaks at a Jewish Synagogue, or a Baptist church, or the Crystal Cathedral, or the Muslim Mosque on Massachusetts Avenue, the Ravens Stadium, the George Washington University, the headquarters of Planned Parenthood, or the hall of the local Atheist Society, will the same policy be followed? Will all signs of what the place actually is and stands for be covered over? If so, it represents equitable treatment, but is it wise? Is the president never to appear in any venue with obvious particular commitments, and why choose religious and not secular signs? Should, say, a university seal be exempted, but a crucifix not?

Will presidents be able to appear anywhere outside government buildings if the rules are really equally applied to both religious and secular? And this raises a real question: Is it American? George Washington once talked before our New North Hall, so did President Clinton. I guess a porch does not need much cover-up. But is the American understanding of state and religion designed to hide any religious or cultural sign whatsoever? If a president is buried at a local church, as President Woodrow Wilson is, must the funeral be covered over so that no signs of a church are seen?

This country does not hide its religious presence. If a president does not want to speak in a given place, fine. Don’t ask. But if he does, it should not be on condition of the place’s ceasing to present what it historically is. Much ink has been spilt on the churches that the president went to in his earlier life, likewise much controversy on whether he "bowed" to a Saudi prince. [I added this link which was not in the original]
In other words, it's ok to discriminate against a class of people if they are Catholic. I have to admit, I was deeply hurt to learn about this - not just that the White House would ask for such a thing, but that Georgetown actually complied with it.

Do read his entire commentary: The Invisible Christ. In the same post is a piece by Hoover Institute research fellow, Mary Eberstadt.

Further Reading:

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!