New visitors center will document religious heritage
By Bob Unruh
Entrance to new underground visitors center in Washington, D.C.
Documentation of the Christian heritage of the United States will be restored, at least partly, to a new $600 million Capitol Visitors Center in Washington which earlier had been scrubbed of references to the religious faith and influences of the Founding Fathers.
WND reported several weeks ago when it was revealed that the center, with acres of marble floors and walls, photographs of Earth Day, information about an AIDS rally and details about industry, would not include America’s Christian heritage.
The plans drew objections from members of Congress and even drew an inquiry from Chuck Norris about whether he could help fix it.
The new 580,000-square-foot center, mostly built underneath the grounds just east of the U.S. Capitol to protect the scenic views of the historic building, is about three-quarters the size of the Capitol itself, has exhibition galleries, theaters, a 550-seat cafeteria, gift shops and myriad other features.
But according to members of Congress, the project run by the office of the architect of the Capitol was on course to lack a full picture of the U.S.
Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., organized a letter eventually signed by 108 members of Congress expressing concern the historical content simply was inaccurate.
Now he’s announced that the Committee on House Administration and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee have agreed to include references to the nation’s religious history in the new project.
“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.”
He continued, “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.”
He said among the changes that have been approved are:
- References to the nation’s motto will be clarified so that visitors don’t misunderstand it to be “E Pluribus Unum” instead of “In God We Trust.”
- That the words “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 the national motto.
- That the Pledge of Allegiance be engraved in stone in a prominent location within the Capitol Visitor Center.
The members of Congress had expressed concern the center was delivering inaccurate and incomplete information, including the omission of the national motto and mistakes regarding Christian church services held in the actual Capitol as well as the excising of references to “religion, morality, and knowledge” in the Northwest Ordinance.
According to Forbes, officials also have agreed to the research and development of a permanent religious history display and have agreed to make every effort to erect the display as soon as possible.