God is real. I have no doubt about that but good luck trying to find him inside the Capitol Visitor Center. To put it mildly, it has been a pain in the “you know what” to get references to God inside this mammoth center that opens Tuesday. Heck, the folks putting it together didn’t even put in the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.” They are now going to correct it. Read below from National Review:
Carpenters follow a simple rule: Measure twice, cut once. The builders of the brand-new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) might have benefited from a similar adage about checking facts before etching them into stone. Just a few weeks before the opening of their $621 million underground complex on December 2, they were trying to correct a dumb mistake. A major display misidentified the nation’s motto as “E pluribus unum.” In reality, the national motto is “In God We Trust,” as Congress established by law in 1956. Anyone who looks closely at the panel in the front of the exhibition hall will see the temporary plaster fix-up job.
Confusion about the motto is the type of innocent blunder a person might make while playing a casual game of Trivial Pursuit, but not the kind of error you’d expect to see chiseled into the hallowed halls of the Capitol. And some conservatives worry that this is more than a routine case of federal incompetence. “There’s a terrible movement to rewrite our history and obscure our faith,” says J. Randy Forbes, a Republican congressman from Virginia who chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus, about the CVC.
Newt Gingrich has started an online petition which urges Congress to make sure that the Visitor Center actually reflects “the centrality of our Creator in the founding of America.” See the petition here.
To get an idea of the struggle to make sure the nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage was properly reflected in the Capitol Visitor Center, you really need to read Senator Jim DeMint’s speech from earlier this fall. A portion is below.
This whole thing is unbelievable. Or maybe in this day and age it’s not unbelievable and that’s the crying shame.
Excerpts from Senator Jim DeMint’s Speech:
In touring the CVC, I found the exhibits to be politically correct, left leaning, and secular in nature. The secular aspects were especially surprising because of the deep connection between faith and the Capitol, and our Judeo Christian traditions. But despite this connection and our traditions, the doors to the CVC are flanked with a quote from former Congressman Rufus Choate that says, "We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution." Even a brief reflection on our Nation's history will show this quote is not accurate and, in my opinion, grossly inappropriate.
There are a few articles in the CVC that reflect elements of faith--two Bibles, a picture of the congressional nondenominational faith space, and the oath of office--but I believe they grossly understate the prominent role of faith and Judeo Christian values in the history of this great building.
There seems to be a trend of whitewashing God out of our history. The last two major memorials in Washington--the FDR and World War II Memorials--left out references to God and persons of faith, the first time a memorial or monument in Washington has not had a quote, reference, or inscription referencing God or the faith of those we are memorializing.
Now it can be said these are not intentional omissions, but consider this: last year the Architect of the Capitol censored God from a certificate accompanying a flag flown over the Capitol by a Boy Scout for his grandfather; a national cemetery director stopped an honor guard from performing the traditional burial ceremony because it mentioned God; "In God We Trust" was removed from the front of our currency; schools have been sued over having the pledge of allegiance every morning; and the list goes on.
It appears that many would prefer to ignore the role and prominence of God and faith in our Nation's history and the lives of the American people today. But I want to make sure unelected bureaucrats are not removing these references just because they are afraid of offending a vocal minority, despite the overwhelming will of the American people. I can assure you, this is something that I will continue to fight against.
I would like to take just a moment to detail a few of the many examples of our faith heritage that could be included in future displays: the Aitken Bible of 1782, the only Bible ever printed by an act of Congress; church services held in the Capitol for over 70 years while Congress was in session, becoming the largest church in Washington in 1867; pictures of National Day of Prayer events or the March for Life, both of which are attended by hundreds of thousands of citizens each year; the text of President Lincoln's second Inaugural and his Bible to go with the table from which he delivered his address, which is already in the CVC; a description of all the paintings in the Rotunda on the virtual tour monitors found in the CVC; and a picture of Members of Congress gathering spontaneously on the Capitol steps to sing "God Bless America" on September 11.