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communications strategy

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 16, 2009

 Questioned about a lecture that President Obama delivered at Georgetown University this week, Father Tom Reese can scarcely contain his enthusiasm. "The audience wanted to cheer and cheer," he told the Washington Times. It was a "very professorial address" by the President, and even if he doesn't have academic credentials, Obama is "a damn good professor."

In case you're missing the thrust, Father Reese spells out his fundamental message: "There is great enthusiasm for Obama especially among Catholic young people."

Got that? Young Catholics love Obama. Or so says Tom Reese, whose qualifications to speak on behalf of young Catholics are nearly as impressive as the President's qualifications as a "very professorial" economist. The kids "were dying to get into the hall" when the President spoke. 

Oh, and about that hall. A bit of unpleasantness arose when it came to light that Georgetown had covered up the name of Jesus, at the request of White House operatives, on the podium where Obama spoke. Father Reese saw no special significance in that gesture. It was just a matter of creating clean sight lines, he said. "They don't want distractions that would make the eye wander," he explained. 

Why, again, was the name of Jesus hidden? "I don't think this is motivated by theology, but by communications strategy," Father Reese assures us. And you know what? He's right. Georgetown and the White House were united in the desire to communicate a message. A political message: a positive message about the President's economic program. Questions about theology-- about God, about Jesus Christ, whose Resurrection we celebrate this week-- never crossed their minds. There was important work to be done at the nation's oldest Catholic university, and we couldn't allow those enthusiastic students any to be distracted by the name of Jesus.

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