Watch your back
As rector of St. John’s Church, the Rev. Luis Leon is accustomed to heavy security. After all, President Bush and virtually every president before him — starting with James Madison — have worshipped in the historic yellow church on Lafayette Square, just across the street from the White House.
In fact, St. John’s is known as “the Church of the Presidents” — Pew 54 being the “President’s Pew,” reserved for the chief executive’s use when in attendance. Sunday Nov. 18 was no different, although security was a bit tighter. Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush were seated in the presidential pew, while a few rows behind them, guarded by their own security detail, were FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and his wife, Ann.
Observing all the security in place, Mr. Leon pointed out in his homily that people constantly are seeking “security” in their lives. He told the story, or so we read in the White House pool report, about the nicely dressed woman who actually took a seat in his chair on the altar during the funeral service for former Defense Secretary Les Aspin.
Mr. Leon said he thought the woman might be a Secret Service agent or, God forbid, somebody up to no good. He said he briefly considered “whacking her on the head” with his prayer book, but that he was afraid of the headline certain to follow in the next day’s newspapers OK. The woman, he finally revealed, was homeless. It turns out that she had talked her way past security to the front of the funeral by posing as the reverend’s assistant. His homily concluded:
“There’s no such thing as full security in all of our lives,” he said — a point perhaps not lost on many in the crowd.