Program Exposes Capitol Visitor Center's Missing Christian Heritage

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By Elena Garcia, Christian Post Reporter
February 1, 2009|8:34 am

God and religion have gone "missing" at the newly opened Capitol Visitor Center in Washington and television audiences will get a first-hand look how during a national televised program that airs today.

The program, which will air on "The Coral Ridge Hour," takes viewers on a tour of the CVC as it argues how important religious references – such as the nation's motto "In God We Trust" – had been omitted in a deliberate cover up of America’s Christian history and "censorship" of God.

The $621 million CVC, which opened in December, was built to make the U.S. Capitol more accessible to the millions of visitors each year. Exhibits on national monuments and historical documents are on display throughout the 580,000 square feet center to help people understand the U.S. Constitution, Congress and the history of the Capitol.

There's just one problem, many U.S. legislators say.

"Faith is missing," notes Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who documents the center's historical inaccuracies during the Coral Ridge TV program. "The reason many of the founders came to the country is religious freedom."

During an initial tour of the CVC in September, DeMint had noticed that the phrase "E. Pluribus Unum" — Latin for "from many, one" — was erroneously described as the national motto rather than "In God We Trust."

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The label of national motto wasn't removed from the phrase until Virginian Congressman J. Randy Forbes and 108 U.S. legislators sent a letter urging the Architect of the Capitol to correct the mistake. Through Forbes' efforts, the national motto "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance are now engraved in stone in prominent locations within the CVC.

DeMint has described the center's displays "left-leaning" and a distortion of the nation's "true history."

While religious references remain left out, conservative lawmakers have noticed that the following quote by 1800s American lawyer Rufus Choate that declares, "We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution," greeting visitors near the Center's entrance.

"It seems that this idea of secularizing our country is being forced by this federal government, particularly, and their surrogates, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)," observes DeMint in the program.

The center, which receives about 15,000 visitors daily, has also downplayed the religious references found in the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance.

Although the text of America's founding document is published in full at the center, including the part which reads men were endowed by their "Creator with certain unalienable Rights," the conservative lawmakers say the words are too tiny to even read.

Furthermore, the Northwest Ordinance passed by Congress in 1987 and again in 1989 included only the text "education shall be forever be encouraged" when the complete article read "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever be encouraged."

Dr. Jerry Newcombe, senior producer of The Coral Ridge Hour, calls the CVC a "temple to humanism."

“Where are the facts about our Christian heritage? Where are the words of our first president declaring his reliance upon Almighty God? Where does it say that our rights come from God, as stated in the Declaration of Independence? It’s left out. All of it!”

On the program, Newcombe quotes President Woodrow Wilson, who said in one campaign speech that "America was born a Christian nation."

Speakers on the program also include Rep. Forbes; Dr. Matthew Spalding, fellow with The Heritage Foundation; and Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri.

Coral Ridge Ministries, which produces the weekly television broadcast, is launching a petition campaign to urge Congress to address the Visitor Center's historical inaccuracies.

Coral Ridge Ministries is the radio and television outreach of the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, a prominent evangelical leader and founder of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

On the Web:
Station listings at The Coral Ridge Hour station log.

 

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