Here's a topic for conversation, especially among Sophians, as Sophia University is a Jesuit (also Catholic!) University like Georgetown. Compare the picture above with the picture below... Do you see any difference in the background/setting?
When President Obama recently visited Georgetown University to give a lecture on the state of the economy, the university was told to cover the famous Jesuit logo IHS that is prominently displayed behind the podium in Gaston Hall. Many dignitaries give lectures and conduct workshops in this ancient hall, and the distinctive Georgetown University eagle and IHS logo with a Cross have been there for all to see. For whatever reason President Obama's Office had requested that the IHS logo be covered up and Georgetown University graciously complied.
Perhaps there is nothing sinister or significant in all this; but several bloggers and media pundits have criticized Georgetown University for being unchristian and denying its Jesuit identity. Critics of Obama too have taken this as a sign that he is not a 'true' Christian. As a matter of fact, his lecture did contain indirect references to some New Testament passages, but the critics point out that he did not mention Jesus by name.
As seems to be routine whenever a Catholic 'issue' comes up, some in the media immediately called up Thomas Reese, S.J., the former editor of the Jesuit magazine America, for his opinion about the case. His response to Julia Duin of The Washington Times was quite straightforward: "It is more for camera quality than anything else... They don't want distractions that would make the eye wander. I don't think this is motivated by theology, but by communications strategy."
Perhaps Sophia University will have nothing to worry about when inviting dignitaries like President Obama, for it doesn't have any Jesuit logo, statue, or symbol to cover up! Although Sophia clearly asserts its Jesuit and Catholic identity in PR materials, the university itself is bereft of Christian icons and symbols.
Leaving aside the Jesuit logo controversy, you can watch President Obama's full address at Georgetown University by clicking the picture below.
For more on the story, see
Baier, Bret. Religious Symbols Covered Up When President Obama Spoke at a Catholic University. Fox News.
Duin, Julia. Obama at Georgetown: The mystery of the missing sign. [The Washington Times]
Eden, Dawn. UPDATED?Obama's messianic jargon hits 'rock' bottom ...
and G'town removes the Holy Name to accommodate The One. [The Dawn Patrol]
Houston Chronicle, The. Georgetown's Cover-Up
[Thanks to a Washington correspondent for bringing this story to my attention.]