Sign of the Crass

by Charlotte Hays

Now I know that Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx had hailed President Obama “our lord and savior,” but I still think this was a bit much: In pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey this year, President Obama made the sign of the cross — twice — over the lucky bird’s head.

Catholics begin every Mass with the sign of the cross. It is the sign the priest makes over a penitent at that mysterious moment when one’s sins take flight. But the president seems to find Christianity’s defining symbol a hoot.

The first time President Obama made the gesture, the crowd laughed appreciatively. “I like doing that,” the president said and then did it again. Try to imagine any previous president of the United States publicly funning with the sign of the cross. No, I’m not accusing the president of setting out to mock the Church on that particular day (though I do think his relationship with the Catholic Church would be an intriguing topic for a psychological workup).

What I am saying is merely that in hoc signo, the president reveals himself as culturally quite limited — especially for a deity.    

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