The National Park Service has banished God from a key display of America’s Christian heritage in Washington, and a California pastor who regularly leads teams of visitors to see markers of the nation’s religious history wants Him restored.
The reference is an engraving of “LAUS DEO,” which is Latin for “Praise be to God,” and is on the east side of the 100-ounce aluminum cap of the Washington Monument.
Since the actual inscription on the cap, which on the other three sides provides other information, is unviewable atop the 555-foot stone column, the National Park Service has created a replica, which is on display inside the white-colored obelisk of marble, granite and sandstone.
The following photograph shows how the display was seen in 2000, when that inscription could be seen by visitors, even if at an angle:
This 2000 photograph of the display of the cap from the Washington Monuments shows it at an angle, so viewers can see the LAUS DEO (Praise be to God) inscription.
But the following photo, from this year, shows how the cap replica has been straightened and moved close to the wall so that visitors are unable to see the inscription at all, a point raised by Pastor Todd DuBord of Lake Almanor Community Church following his recent visit in Washington.
This 2007 photograph shows the cap has been straightened so that no one can see the inscription on the side against the wall, the LAUS DEO inscription
It was the second time in just the past few weeks there have been reports “God” no longer is allowed in Washington. WND reported earlier on the architect of the Capitol banning religious references in certificates that accompany flags flown over the Capitol. But that ruling later was rescinded.
DuBord, whose past research shows that Thomas Jefferson actually advocated a “gate” between church and state, and uncovered officials at the U.S. Supreme Court lying about the nation’s Christian heritage, also uncovered a “reinterpretation” of history at Monticello.
DuBord has lobbied those organizations as well to restore the accuracy of the nation’s Christian heritage to their historic locations.
At the Washington Monument, he said he even tried to press his head “firmly against the wall above the replica and tried to catch an angle of light, while squinting to see any writing at all.”
“I could barely make out some etching looking down from that bird’s eye view, but there was simply no way I would have known what it said unless I already knew the saying was there – ‘Laus Deo,’” DuBord said.
“Surely, I thought, if the one side of the replica is hidden from public sight, they have certainly written something about it,” he continued. However, “There was no description of ‘Laus Deo’ on the front side of the replica stand. There was also no description of ‘Laus Deo’ on the large information display on the wall in back of the replica. There was nothing there, absolutely NOTHING – no way for any visitor to ever know that the words, ‘Laus Deo,’ (‘Praise be to God’), were inscribed on the original cap!”
The pastor sought a ranger with the National Park Service in the Monument to ask about the inscription.
“She smiled at me and said, ‘It’s not a conspiracy or anything,’ Interesting first answer I thought! I replied, ‘I didn’t say anything about conspiracy. I was just wondering why all the sides of the replica are not shown to the public?” he said.
The ranger responded that the cap is positioned inside the Monument as it is atop the stone column, and then explained “there’s not enough room,” for the cap display to allow people to read the fourth side.
A Monument Ranger, Bob Healy, told WND the same thing, but when asked about the difference in space requirements for a cap replica placed straight – or at an angle – against the wall, he said he couldn’t answer.
The chief of visitors services declined to respond to WND questions, and an official with the public affairs office was on leave and did not accept messages.
“In reality it would not hinder any flow of foot traffic whatsoever or create any congestion if it was out even two feet – people would just walk around it,” DuBord said. Asked further about placing a mirror on the back to allow people the see the engraving, the ranger told him, “I don’t know.”
After returning home, DuBord investigated, and found that not only had the cap replica been repositioned, the description also was edited to remove God.
The 2000 description, he said, was:
APEX OF THE MONUMENT Reproduction The builders searched for an appropriate metal for the apex that would not tarnish and would act as a lightning rod. They chose one of the rarest metals of the time, aluminum. The casting was inscribed with the phrase, Laus Deo, (Praise be to God).
The last sentence was edited out for the 2007 display, he said, which includes only:
CAP OF THE MONUMENT Reproduction The builders searched for appropriate metal for the cap that would not tarnish and would act as a lightning rod. They chose one of the rarest metals of the time – aluminum.
Photographs of the two versions document this:
The description of the capstone likewise was changed to remove the reference to God, with the 2000 description on the left, “God-less” description on the right
The three sides of the replica visible to visitors include this information:
North Face: Joint Commission at Setting of Capstone. Chester A. Arthur. W.W. Corcoran, Chairman. M.E. Bell. Edward Clark. John Newton. Act of August 2, 1876.
West Face: Corner Stone laid on bed of foundation July 4, 1848. First stone at height of 152 feet laid August 7, 1990. Capstone set December 6, 1884.
South Face: Chief engineer and architect, Thos. Lincoln Casey, Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Assistants: George W. David, Captain, 14th Infantry, Bernard R. Green, Civil Engineer. Master Mechanic, P.H. McLaughlin.
It’s the East Face, facing the Capitol, that contains LAUS DEO.
DuBord said his research into the monument revealed that the cap inscription praising God was noted significantly, earlier.
“Prior to delivery of the capstone in Washington, it was placed on exhibit at Tiffany’s in New York City where it was placed on the floor and persons could have the dubious prestige of ‘jumping over the top of the Washington Monument,” the history book said. “The east face read ‘Laus Deo.’”
“The laying of the capstone was appropriately celebrated. At the top of the monument, a special scaffolding had been constructed where the principals involved with the construction of the monument could stand. As thousands of eyes were trained upward toward the pinnacle, a 60-mile-per-hour wind was blowing, and the footing was dangerous. According to S. H. Nealy’s sketch of the ceremony, P. H. McLaughlin, project superintendent, placed the tip on the pyramidion as the rigger, James Hogan, released an American flag to signify the completion to the cheers of the crowd below and the booming of cannon brought from Fort Myer, Va., especially for the occasion,” the description said.
“Is it merely a coincidence that the one side with the inscription, ‘Laus Deo,’ just happens to be flush against the wall for no one to read it? Was that really an accident? Absolutely unintentional? Did someone not think anyone would care? Well I care! And I know tens of thousands of others will too once they find out about revisionism about the Monument,” he told the Park Service in a letter asking for the corrections.
“If the creators of the Monument were so grateful for their Heavenly Father (God) that they inscribed a praise specifically to Him alone on one side of the cap, shall we then show disrespect to them and God by covering it up?
“If the National Park Service is seeking to preserve such historic sites with integrity and dignity as their creators intended them to be understood, then it seems only right that a full disclosure and education of the capstone’s inscription be known to the public inside the Monument, just as it is on the NPS website,” he said.
“Because there is no longer any way for the public to learn about ‘Laus Deo’ at the Washington Monument, and so as to preserve its history for future generations, I am respectfully requesting the National Park Service to do either 1, 2, or 3,…(1) Pull out the replica from the wall far enough for it to be seen on all sides; (2) Place the replica on a pole that turns, so that the public can spin it and see each side, within its glass container; (3) Place a mirror behind the replica and lean it so that people can be encouraged to see the 4th side inscription which is now hid. AND… please add some wording back on the descriptive display at its base or on the wall behind it that interprets and explains ‘Laus Deo’ so the public can both see it and understand what it means,” he wrote.
To comment to the National Park Service, you can e-mail the NPS or the White House, or write: Mary A. Bomar, Director, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240.
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