Entrance to new underground visitors center in Washington, D.C.
American taxpayers have spent more than $600 million on a new visitors’ center at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and it will have acres of marble floors and walls, photographs of Earth Day, information about an AIDS rally and details about the nation’s industrial sector. What it will not include is America’s Christian heritage, raising objections from members of Congress and drawing an inquiry from Chuck Norris about whether he can 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.
The project, run by the office of the architect of the Capitol, has been delayed from its original opening date set several years ago and has cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than estimated, officials have confirmed.
But the finished product still, according to members of Congress, is seriously lacking. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said 108 members of Congress have signed a letter to the architect’s office expressing their concerns that the historical content simply is inaccurate.
Among the references to God or American’s religious history that are omitted is the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” the letter said.
“Our concern is not just with the Capitol Visitor Center, but with [an] increasing pattern of attempts to remove references to our religious heritage from our nation’s capital,” said Forbes. “The Capitol Visitor Center is just one example of efforts to censor God, faith, and religion from our historical buildings, documents, and ceremonies.”
The revisionism that attempts to remove God and Christianity from America’s history has been documented by WND’s coverage of the work of Todd DuBord, the former pastor at Lake Almanor Community Church in California. He now serves as a special chaplain for Chuck Norris’ organizations.
Dubord was leading trips of tourists to Washington and nearby areas to review the nation’s Christian heritage when he started noticing what appeared to be a deliberate campaign to remove references to the Bible and Christianity.
He revealed when tour guides at the U.S. Supreme Court building called depictions of the Ten Commandments the “Ten Amendments,” and he followed up by disclosing a number of other apparently related efforts to wipe Christianity from U.S. history, including efforts at Jefferson’s Monticello, where tour guides told him they were unable to talk about the religious influences there.
He later documented how officials at the Washington Monument had placed a replica of the 100-ounce solid aluminum capstone, which is inscribed with the Latin “Praise Be to God,” so that visitors could not read the words and a resulting investigation by the National Park Service prompted a change in that procedure.
WND also has reported on efforts to make history politically correct, such as calling Europeans’ arrival in North America an “invasion,” for the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement last year, even though the first goal of those sent out to America was to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The new Capitol Visitor Center appears to be falling under the influence of that same politically correct agenda, according to the letter from Congress.
“Historical buildings like the Capitol Visitor Center are there to tell the story of our nation,” said Forbes. “When religious history is removed from these displays, the American public is not able to observe an accurate depiction of our nation’s story. We owe it to those who have gone before us and to our future generations to provide a complete representation of our nation’s heritage. We will continue to fight until this is achieved in the Capitol Visitor Center.”
He said the Congressional Prayer Caucus, whose members’ signatures were among those on the letter, have been working to restore “references to our religious heritage in the past, and we are aiming to do it again now with the Capitol Visitor Center.”
The letter said, in addition to omitting any reference to the national motto, there are “factual inaccuracies regarding Capitol church services,” and references to “religion, morality, and knowledge” in the Northwest Ordinance have been edited out.
“In addition, the Capitol Visitor Center includes photos from Earth Day, an AIDS rally, various casino grounds, and factories, but it does not include photos from monumental religious events such as the National Day of Prayer or the March for Life event, attended by thousands annually, among other things,” the letter said.
Officials running the Capitol also have tried to strip the mention of God from flag-folding ceremonies at veterans’ funerals and previously attempted to edit “God” from congressional flag certificates, which are statements issued with flags that have been flown over the Capitol.
A letter responding to members of Congress from Stephen T. Ayers, acting architect of the Capitol, didn’t directly address the questions raised .
“The Capitol Preservation Commission, a bicameral, bipartisan committee, was selected by the U.S. Congress to oversee the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center, including determining the content of the exhibitry,” he wrote. “Comprised of representatives elected by the people of the United States, the CPC worked to ensure that the Capitol Visitor Center is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Pastor DuBord’s work also was highlighted in Norris’ new book, “Black Belt Patriotism,” which gives a no-holds-barred assessment of American culture, hitting everything from family values to national security.
Norris writes, “It seems like wherever you turn these days, the news is bad. Illegal immigrants are swarming over our borders. Our nation and American families are crippled by debt. We remain vulnerable to Islamist terrorist attacks. Judges ignore the Constitution and instead legislate from the bench. Faith and traditional values are under incessant assault from the media, leftist lawyers, and the liberal establishment. The core message of the Declaration of Independence – that everyone has a God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – is under threat from liberals who deny the right to life (or even the very idea of God-given rights), and who think the answer to every problem is a government program. They think that God, if He exists, might not know best, but liberal-run government certainly does.”
DuBord told WND that Norris was concerned about the editing of Christianity from America’s history at the new center.
“He told me last night to get hold of the Prayer Caucus to see if there is anything we can do to help them rectify the situation,” he said.
DuBord said if it’s history, it’s history. The situation is just that simple.
“If this is history, and this is our Capitol, then teach our heritage,” he said. “Don’t revise it. Don’t skew it. Don’t distort it.”
He said the goal appears to be erasing from America’s heritage the Christian influences that started the nation, the Christian leadership throughout its years and the Christian fundamentals on which it is based.
Government officials report the idea for the center predates the first Iraq war, but it was stalled during the 1990s because of costs. It was revived in 1998 after a gunman killed two Capitol police. A budget of $265 million was proposed with a completion date of 2004.