Monterey Tom liked my 'Xmas' post and sends this:
Many Catholic artifacts related to worship are marked with the Roman letters IHS, which is a partial Latin transliteration of the Greek form of 'Jesus' and can also be read as an acronym for the Latin Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus Savior of Man). However, some have construed the IHS to be an acronym for "In this Sign", as in "In this sign you shall conquer." Some who were desirous of defending the judgements of the Obama administration used that last and incorrect notion to justify covering all of the IHS images at Georgetown University two years ago on the ground that Muslims would see the IHS as a symbol of Christian aggression. My reaction to that claim is that the event presented the U.S. government with what educators now call a "teachable moment." The only problem being, I suspect, that no one in the White House gang actually knew the true meaning of the letters and probably shared the Muslim belief that the Crusades were wars of aggression aimed at forcefully converting the peace-loving Muslims and enriching the pope.
Although it is true that 'IHS' is, as Tom writes, "a partial Latin transliteration of of the Greek form of 'Jesus'," it is not true that it abbreviates Iesus Hominum Salvator, at least according to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "IHS was sometimes wrongly understood as "Jesus Hominum (or Hierosolymae) Salvator", i.e. Jesus, the Saviour of men (or of Jerusalem=Hierosolyma)."
Being a pedant and a quibbler (but in the very best senses of these terms!), I was all set to quibble with Monterey Tom's use of 'acronym' in connection with 'IHS.' After all, you cannot pronounce it like a word in the way you can pronounce 'laser' and 'Gestapo' which are clearly acronyms. But it all depends on how exactly we define 'acronym,' a question I'm not in the mood for. The Wikipedia article looks good, however. I am tempted to say that, while every acronym is an abbreviation, not every abbreviation is an acronym. 'IHS' is an abbreviation.
Acronym or not, 'IHS' is a Christogram, and sometimes a monogram. As it just now occurred in my text, 'IHS' is not a monogram but a mere abbreviation. But again it depends on what exactly a monogram is. According to the Wikipedia monogram article, "A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol." Clear examples:
In the first monogram one can discern alpha, omega, chi, and rho. The 'chi' as I said last post is the 'X' is 'Xmas.'
From pedantry to political correctness and a bit of anti-Pee Cee polemic. To think that 'IHS' abbreviates In hoc signes vincit shows a contemptible degree of ignorance, but what is worse is to worry about a possible Muslim misreading of the abbreviation. Only a namby-pamby Pee-Cee dumbass liberal could sink to that level. That is down there with the supine foolishness of those librul handwringers who wailed, in the wake of 9/11, "What did we do to offend them?"
If hypersensitive Muslims take offense at 'IHS,' that is their problem, not ours. There is such a thing as taking inappropriate offense. See Of Black Holes and Political Correctness: If You Take Offense, is That My Fault?
As for Georgetown's caving to the White House demand, that is contemptible and disgusting, but so typical. To paraphrase Dennis Prager, there is no one so spineless in all the world as a university administrator. They should have said loud and clear "Absolutely not!"