Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jesuit university afraid to display the name of Jesus

It's an old Protestant view that Catholics are not really Christians. And if the holiest order of the Catholic church is diffident about Jesus, that view does tend to be confirmed by the church itself

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

“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

“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.”

On Wednesday, 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 to comment on the covering up of Jesus’ name at Gaston Hall.

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 [It's the first three letters of his name in the original Greek]. 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.

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.”


A setback for the British police state

Having the police raiding the parliament and arresting an opposition member was an enormously dangerous precedent -- requiring the most unusual circumstances -- circumstances which did not exist

Jacqui Smith faced renewed pressure last night after the secrets case against Damian Green was thrown out and the leaks with which he was involved were deemed not to have involved national security. The Home Secretary will appear in the Commons on Monday for a statement on a series of issues including the recent terrorism raids in the North of England.

But, after an Easter recess in which she has come under growing criticism over her parliamentary expenses, Ms Smith will face fierce questioning over yesterday’s verdict that some of the leaks obtained by Mr Green were in the public interest. She, too, had raised worries over national security. She mounted a counter-attack last night, declaring that a failure to mount a leaks investigation would have been irresponsible.

Whitehall sources unleashed an extraordinary salvo at Christopher Galley, the civil servant who leaked to Mr Green but was also freed from the threat of criminal prosecution. One labelled him a “complete loser”. Claiming that he had used a term from Star Trek as a computer log-in, an insider said: “That says it all, doesn’t it. The guy was a laughing stock.”

But Ms Smith was again under fire over a police investigation that prompted the spectacle of the Shadow Immigration Minister being arrested, and threatened with serious charges, along with Mr Galley.

The Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring a court case against Mr Green, who welcomed the decision and attacked the Government as authoritarian. Mr Green said that officials had felt the need to call in Scotland Yard because of the embarrassment to their political bosses by a string of damaging headlines.

He stopped short of accusing Ms Smith of direct involvement, but said that the affair was the result of the “atmosphere” caused by ministerial anger over the leaks, and said that ministers should take full responsibility.

Mr Green said he was very pleased that he would not face charges, and that publicising the leaks was the job of opposition. “There were no national security implications of any of the information that I obtained,” he said. “All the things that I put in the public domain were legitimate stories showing that our borders are not safe.”

But Home Office sources drew attention to the DPP’s conclusion — that a police investigation was “inevitable” because of the pattern of the leaks and the damage they were doing. They said that both the DPP’s statement and an imminent internal investigation suggested that Mr Green’s actions had fallen below those expected of an MP. “He’s not emerged from this whiter than white. His crowing has been premature,” they said.

Ms Smith said that she had a responsibility to keep information safe. “My job is to protect the British people. It is also to protect the sensitive information about how we protect them.”

The leaked material included the disclosure that Ms Smith failed to tell the public that up to 11,000 security guard licences had been granted to illegal immigrants. Another memo showed that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons. Also leaked was a draft of a letter to Downing Street from Ms Smith warning that the recession could lead to rising crime levels.


Supreme Court Justice's Hypocrisy on International Law

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that American courts should look more to foreign court rulings and international law in interpreting our Constitution. But she herself does so only when it is ideologically convenient.

For example, Justice Ginsburg cites foreign court rulings to advocate cutting back on the use of the death penalty. Some liberal lawyers go further, claiming that since most European countries don’t have capital punishment, the death penalty must be against “customary international law” and the weight of world opinion (even though ordinary citizens in many European countries, like the United Kingdom, typically support the death penalty).

But Justice Ginsburg, and American lawyers, tend to ignore foreign law and world opinion when it calls into question liberal policies in the United States. One classic example is the horror that most countries’ courts have for the American practice of letting virtually unguided juries award punitive damages. In most of the world, punitive damages are forbidden.

Justice Ginsburg is the biggest advocate of punitive damages on the U.S. Supreme Court. She opposes any limits on punitive damages under the Due Process and Excessive Fines clauses of the Constitution, and interprets vague federal laws as authorizing punitive damages. She has also rejected challenges to broad state taxes that both American business and European governments view as violating treaties against extraterritorial taxation.

Another example is abortion; while most European countries recognize the right to an abortion, they recognize that that right, like all rights, has limits, and typically require that abortions be performed prior to the end of the first trimester (unlike in the United States, where third-trimester partial-birth abortion was long de facto legal, and remains difficult to regulate as a result of court rulings).

Justice Ginsburg, by contrast, dissented against the Supreme Court ruling upholding limits on partial-birth abortion.

Foreign constitutions are often very different from ours, but that doesn’t stop Ginsburg from citing court rulings interpreting those constitutions as if they were relevant to ours. Yet she ignores relevant foreign court rulings involving exactly the same provisions when it is convenient to do so. For example, both the U.S. and foreign countries signed the Warsaw Convention, and helped craft it, so U.S. courts should look to foreign court rulings for any insights they may have about what its ambiguous provisions may mean and what its drafters intended. But in Olympic Airways v. Husain (2004), Justice Ginsburg did just the opposite, joining a Supreme Court decision that, as Justice Scalia noted in dissent, rejected the rulings of every foreign court that has considered the meaning of the Warsaw Convention. (The ruling that Ginsburg joined, not surprisingly, was “liberal” in that it allowed for more liability than foreign courts would have permitted).

American lawyers also ignore foreign law when it comes to privacy. Many foreigners are puzzled by the multibillion dollar lawsuits brought by lawyers against phone companies for cooperating with government antiterror surveillance programs after 9-11. Other countries like Sweden permit their governments to engage in much broader surveillance than the FISA bill would permit the U.S. government to do. The belief by many liberal commentators that the government should have to obtain a warrant before monitoring communications with foreign terrorists strikes many foreigners as peculiar. So, too, does the claim that the phone companies should be subject to punitive damages, even if the government itself doesn’t have to pay a dime.

There are pitfalls to looking to "international law" for guidance in interpreting our Constitution. So-called "international law" has been a major obstacle to combatting piracy in the crucial shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia, leading to billions of dollars in losses and killings and kidnappings.

"International law" is also vague and manipulable. International courts and “human rights” bodies issue rulings that purport to have the force of law. But much of their reasoning is based not on written laws found in any law book, or agreed to by any legislature or citizenry. Instead, it is based on vaguely-defined “customary international law,” principles of so-called “natural law” derived from a supposedly “clear consensus” by enlightened people across the globe. But that “consensus” is often illusory, since it can easily be fabricated, manipulated, or distorted by international lawyers.

Lawyers are, on average, further to the left politically than the average citizen. And so-called international lawyers are even more so. Just as the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, lawyers often claim that the law is more liberal elsewhere in the world than in their own benighted country, and that such liberal norms — at odds with their own country’s law — constitute customary international law. Thus, it is commonly argued that customary international law bans the death penalty for mass murderers, and requires countries to ban disfavored forms of speech (such as “hate speech,” or criticism of any religion), although in reality, the strongest support for bans on such speech actually comes from undemocratic regimes like Cuba and China.

It is hard to fight these claims even when they are false, because ordinary people (and even most lawyers) don’t know much about foreign law. The lawyers who fashion “customary international law” are thus largely unaccountable. Perhaps as a result, customary international law is generally of poorer quality than domestic law. Scholars have cited this fact in celebrating the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Medellin v. Texas (2008), which refused to make Texas hear yet another challenge to a murderer’s conviction (which had already twice been upheld by different court systems) when ordered to do so by the International Court of Justice (a ruling at odds with the fact that virtually all ICJ member countries permit only one appeal of a conviction, not successive appeals).

Misleading the public about foreign law is common among “human rights” officials. For example, an official in Australia’s new Labour government claims that people accused of race discrimination should have to prove themselves innocent, rather than being proved guilty. To justify this outrage, he and Australia’s “human rights” commission claim that is the practice in America, when in fact it is quite the contrary.

American law puts the burden of proof on the complainant and the government, not the alleged offender, in discrimination cases. The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly so ruled in Texas v. Burdine (1981) and St. Mary’s Honor Center v. Hicks (1993). But Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, and the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission falsely claim that under American law, “the onus of proof” is on “the person who has been accused of discrimination.” (See “Call to Switch Onus on Racist Offenses,” The Age, News, April 5, 2008).

Joseph H.H. Weiler, a law professor who co-drafted the European Parliament’s Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms, made American legal thinking seem more liberal than it is, by inviting to Europe to represent it two of America’s most radical law professors: the University of Michigan’s Catharine MacKinnon, who considers most heterosexual sex to be rape; and Harvard Law School’s Duncan Kennedy, who advocated having law school professors periodically exchange their positions with college janitorial staff in order to promote diversity and social equality.

By contrast, when laws across the world are more conservative than a law professor’s own, they are studiously ignored in formulating “human rights” law (like the world-wide aversion of most countries’ legal systems toward civil punitive damages and late-term abortions, which U.S. law often permits).

The very international “human rights” lawyers who insist that “hate speech” should be curbed are often radicals who are blind to certain forms of prejudice. A classic example of this is the disturbing Richard Falk, recently appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate Israel. Falk, a liberal Princeton professor emeritus, has likened Israel to the Nazis, praised the Ayatollah Khomeini (the Iranian dictator whose regime ordered the killings and torture of many religious and ethnic minorities in Iran), and promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories that accuse the U.S. government of complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Falk’s wackiness may offend the general public and Israel, which plans to bar him from coming to Israel, but it apparently does not offend lawyers and state judges very much: it did not stop the Washington State Supreme Court from citing his advocacy of affirmative action to uphold a discriminatory, gender-based affirmative-action set-aside in public contracting, in Southwest Wash. Chapter v. Pierce County, 667 P.2d 1092 (1983).


British women aged 25 are now more likely to have a child than a husband

Not very good for the kids in most cases

WOMEN aged 25 are now more likely to have had a child than to be married. The latest landmark in the decline of marriage was uncovered yesterday in Social Trends, the annual snapshot of the nation by the Office for National Statistics. Before this decade, most women in their 20s had married before having children. In the 1970s nearly 80 per cent of women were married by the age of 25, compared with 25 per cent now. About 50 per cent of 25-year-old females in the late 1970s had had a child, compared with 30 per cent of the women questioned during this decade.

The ONS report also showed that the number of people getting married has dropped to its lowest level since 1895. Only 237,000 marriages took place in England and Wales in 2006 and the proportion of people who marry is now lower than when the rate was first calculated in 1862.

Both men and women are leaving marriage until later in life, with the average age of a man marrying for the first time rising from 29 ten years ago to 32 in 2006. For women, the average age of marriage has also increased from 27 to just under 30 - 29.7 - over the past ten years. The biggest decrease in the numbers marrying was among those aged between 20 and 24, which has fallen from almost a fifth of all marriages to 11 per cent in ten years.

The report also showed that many women are delaying starting a family until they are older. In 1971 the average age for a woman to have her first child was just under 24. In 2007 it was 27.5. However, women who are not married are more likely to have a child younger: the average age for an unmarried woman in Britain to give birth was 27 in 2007, compared with 31.5 for married mothers.

The survey also noted a significant increase in the number of people living on their own, which has doubled since 1971. Nearly seven million people, 12 per cent of adults, live on their own, with the largest increase among adults of working age. One quarter of households in Great Britain in 2008 consisted of couples who did not have children - a 6 per cent increase since 1971, when the figure was 19 per cent.

The survey also showed that the number of pensioners [social security recipients] outnumbered the number of children under 16 for the first time in 2007. There has been a threefold increase in the number of people aged 90 and above since 1971, with the number now approaching 500,000. The expected increase in the number of pensioners is also potentially worrying for healthcare providers and social services: the report showed that council spending on older people rose from pounds 4.5 billion in 1997 to pounds 8.66 billion in 2007, the largest expenditure on any one group.

The survey of key events in women's lives before they turned 25 was carried out between 2001 and 2003, and asked women under 60 if they had been married or had a child by the time they were aged 25.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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