My laptop has been out of commission for a while and now that it's back up and running, I've been going back to look at recent news stories. One in particular grabbed my attention - it concerns President Obama's recent speech at Georgetown University. Apparently, the White House made a request for the university to cover up any religious symbols that would be in view where he was speaking, i.e. a monogram of Jesus' name. DO WHAT?!
I don't even know where to start with this one. But I'll try. Man, I do want to try to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt but I can't with this one. He chose this university, a CATHOLIC university, as the location for a speech he wanted to deliver. Therefore, as a matter of respect, you defer to "house" rules. Georgetown University has been around for 120 years. Sure, you're the President so it pretty much goes without saying that you defer to the needs of the President. But in this case, I believe this request is completely disrespectful and done in VERY bad taste. The White House, in it's statement regarding the request, said that they didn't want the monogram showing for fear it would be seen out of context. Can someone explain that to me? Was the thought that President Obama would be criticized for sharing face time with a monogram of Jesus' name? Better yet, who would even think twice about the monogram in the first place being in display while President Obama delivered his speech? He and The White House make this an issue by making this ridiculous request. What's even more ridiculous is that Georgetown complied and covered up the monogram.
What'll be interesting to see is if he asks Notre Dame to cover up any of their religious symbols and if he does, how the university will respond. I hope if he does make the request to cover symbols and images that they refuse to comply. I think The White House shouldn't be so concerned with people taking religious symbolism (i.e. the name of Jesus) out of context when it's seen in the same space as the President. I mean, he made it very clear, with some help from George Stephanopoulous on his show that he was a Christian, so what would be the confusion or hang-up with the two (the POTUS and the name of Jesus) sharing the same space? I think he is, to his own and to our country's detriment, too eager to prove himself a man of all people. And his administration is out to remake this country as a country of the world, just like any other country. This I believe also is to his and our own detriment. We are the world's superpower. We have been a beacon of hope and freedom for the world for a very long time. Those two things make us different from the rest of the countries of the world. That alone makes us either loved or hated - loved by countries and peoples that yearn for freedom and opportunity and hated by peoples and countries that want to suppress freedom and opportunity. I believe we have a duty to continue to take up the burden that comes with this responsibility. No other country on the planet has the resources or ability to take up this mantle the way we do. And I will say that whether or not we are a Christian nation today, as President Obama contends that we are not, is debatable. There are facts available to support either side of that argument. But there should not be any confusion about the fact that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles - it's woven into the very composition and wording of our Constitution. We can deny this no more than we can deny that the Lord has brought unparalleled prosperity to this nation, which I believe is linked to the faith and vision of those that founded this country.
I could be completely wrong about this but I feel like President Obama is trying to remake America into what he thinks it should be. I'm not ignorant to the fact that there have been a lot of things that have happened in this country that are indeed shameful, things that those in government allowed to be perpetrated against Black Americans (i.e. slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, Tuskeegee human experiments). I'm also not ignorant to the fact that Black Americans are not alone when it comes to people groups that have been targeted and treated less than humanely (i.e. Japanese, Chinese, Arabic peoples). At the same time, there are a lot of things that this country has stood and fought for when it really mattered, times in history that required our action, our resolve to allow for freedom to win out over tyranny and despotism. It is for these actions that I believe the rest of the world owes the United States a huge debt for the price we've paid to ensure that freedom is a choice for anyone who wants it. And these things deserve consideration by President Obama as he travels and speaks around the country. Instead of covering things up, he should pay the proper respect and homage to the things that make us as a country unique and special. It is this very characteristic that he of all people should recognize he has uniquely benefited from.