University answers questions about IHS monogram coverup

But where’s Jesus?

Following Obama’s speech in Gaston Hall on Tuesday, David Gregory (COL `10), the Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Academy, pointed out that the University has apparently covered up the “IHS” symbol and cross that usually appear over a speaker.

If Gregory received a response from the University, he hasn’t posted it on the TGA’s blog, but they have responded to  CNS News:

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

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

That may not be good enough for Patrick Deneen, an associate professor of Government at Georgetown, who made snide remarks on his blog “What I Saw in America” which compared the cover-up to the recent acts of vandalism on campus:

I hope and expect authorities will be looking into this heinous act, and that the President himself will decry the covering of this sacred symbol at the Catholic institution where he requested to deliver a speech in which he cited the Sermon on the Mount. Surely he must be as outraged as campus officials over this terrible deed.

Photo taken from Georgetown University’s Flickr account with permission.

20 Comments on “University answers questions about IHS monogram coverup

  1. I’m as moderate as they come on the extreme professions of Georgetown’s Jesuit identity. I think our Jesuit/Catholic identity is incredibly, incredibly important and central to what this university does, but I don’t have a problem with inviting speakers of opposing opinions or funding LGBTQ student associations or even handing out birth control. I’m an open-minded, moderate traditionalist.

    But even I think it’s sort of ridiculous that Georgetown had to “cover up” for Obama. Really, unless the White House had some very very good reasons for wanting to cover up all signage/symbols, they should have at least let IHS stand. I have no problem with Obama disagreeing with Georgetown’s position on abortion, but there’s a difference between disagreeing and demanding that the institution you’re visiting change what it’s doing. Is he going to ask Notre Dame to tamp down the religious aspects of their commencement ceremony next month?

    I guess an interesting question for some enterprising reporter at the Voice to ask would be “Why did he wants all signs and symbols including any reference to Georgetown or the Georgetown seal to be removed?” And did he specifically ask for IHS to be removed or did Georgetown just perhaps overly interpret his request?

    It may be that the White House had a good reason to want all signs and symbols removed, including things like the Georgetown seal / name, but a little sensitivity to something like the name of God wouldn’t be too much to ask for especially on the heels of the whole ND thing.

  2. Way to go, Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown!

    Ms. Bataille successfully planted the seeds of a Drudge-promoted PR s***-storm for the White House by unnecessarily talking about hiding Jesus in Gaston.

    Can Georgetown hire some crack communications staff — people who adhere to basic best practices, like not compromising the details of private negotiations when it isn’t necessary? And then can we get WiFi in Walsh?

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  4. Why has nobody noted that this was the same backdrop the President has had for basically every formal/policy speech he’s given outside the white house. The blue drapes with a line of flags goes back to his time as Pres-Elect and even back to the campaign (race speech in Philadelphia). How many of these speeches were done in a University setting? If he hadn’t been using that same formal backdrop all the time in the past, i could see this as an issue, but right now, it feels as if people are overly sensitive and looking for a gripe.

  5. Stipulated, Marc. But Batille explicitly states that those drapes were not high enough to cover the cross. However, they were also not high enough to cover the giant murals to the left and right. So why take the extra effort to make a black plywood triangle to fit in that spot, but not do anything about the murals? It seems pretty clear that there was an explicit decision to cover up the IHS, but leave the rest of it….

    No one has any problem with the blue drapes and the American Flag. It is the decision to go out of their way to cover up the symbol of Christ, combined with the schools idiotic and feckless compliance with that request that has people bothered.

  6. We know now, its hour come round at last, what rough beast slouches toward Bethlehem to be born — with a short stop to speak at Georgetown, of course.
    Shame! Shame on you, liberal, grant-grubbing pussies.
    Jesus weeps.

  7. Obama: There can only be one, ‘One’.

    Some people have argued that Obama does not want to use religion to further a political ideology. However, Obama did evoke the Sermon on the Mount, at this Georgetown appearance, to further his economic agenda. Although Obama failed to mention Jesus Christ by name for the 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.”

    The last statement is particularly ironic since building your house upon a ‘ROCK‘ means to build your house with Christ as the foundation. Obama decided to blot out the real foundation from the timeless parable.

    See the hi-res pictures:


    That’s video from the Mr. Georgetown Pageant a little while ago. Note that the black covering is in place there (go to 3:09 for a good look). For a Georgetown University event. This is what they do by default. All of this outrage is manufactured by people who are looking to gin up a storm because they’re angry about a pro-choice president speaking at Georgetown. That’s their choice. But to pretend like this is some unique and grace offense is laughable on its face.

  9. The basic issue is that the name of Christ should be concealed for no one, not even the President of the United States. Frankly, I doubt that the President himself even knew this was happening; I suspect it was a low-level staff “error.” However, if this was truly a prerequisite of his speaking, the administration of a Catholic University should have refused the request even if it meant that the President would choose another venue. Principles trump PR.

  10. It is quite simple – Obama is a muslim and hates anything to do with America and Christ……he had it covered as the anti-christ would have done (oops, “did”)…..

  11. There has always been only one Savior & Messiah on The Hilltop and it isn’t the Dali Obama.

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  14. Lenin at the mausoleum smiled at this event. I don’ wish to live in a society domained ateists again.

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