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Members Announce Historical Religious Content to be Added to Capitol Visitor Center

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Washington, D.C., Oct 6, 2008 | Jessica Mancari ((202)-225-6365) | comments
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) and Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus announced today that the Committee on House Administration and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee have agreed to include references to our nation’s religious history in the new Capitol Visitor Center. The addition comes in response to a letter that 108 Members of Congress sent to the Architect of the Capitol expressing their concerns with inaccurate and  incomplete historical religious content in the Capitol Visitor Center, including omission of the current national motto “In God We Trust”, factual inaccuracies regarding Capitol church services, and the exclusion of the reference to “religion, morality, and knowledge” in the Northwest Ordinance.

“Historical buildings like the Capitol Visitor Center are there to tell the story of our nation. When religious history is removed from these displays, the American public is not able to observe an accurate depiction of our nation’s story,” said Forbes. “We are pleased that the Committee on House Administration and Senate Rules Committee have acknowledged this important part of our nation’s history and have agreed to correct the omission of historical religious content in the Capitol Visitor Center. Thousands of visitors will walk through the Capitol Visitor Center each day, and the efforts of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and the 108 Members of Congress that have joined in this issue will enable those visitors to experience an accurate depiction of our nation’s heritage.”

The Committee on House Administration and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee have agreed to the following changes to the Capitol Visitor Center:

  • That the phrase "Our Nation's Motto" be removed from the plaque describing the engraving of E Pluribus Unum;
  • That "In God We Trust" be engraved in stone in a prominent location within the Capitol Visitor Center and that the panel describing the engraving include the proper recognition of this phrase as our national motto;
  • That the Pledge of Allegiance be engraved in stone in a prominent location within the Capitol Visitor Center.

In addition, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration have agreed to the research and development of a permanent religious history display, and have agreed to make every effort to ensure that the display is erected in the Capitol Visitor Center as soon as possible.

The Congressional Prayer Caucus has been at the forefront in preventing the obstruction of the phrase “Laus Deo”, or “Praise Be to God”, at the Washington Monument, fighting attempts of the Architect of the Capitol to censor the word “God” on Congressional flag certificates, and fighting to reverse a decision to strip the mention of God from flag-folding ceremonies at veterans’ funerals.

Congressman Forbes is Founder and Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.  To learn more about the Caucus, visit: http://www.house.gov/forbes/prayercaucus.htm.

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