Entrance to new underground visitors center in Washington, D.C.
An “oversight” at the nation’s new $600-plus million Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., which left the national motto “In God We Trust” absent from the historical displays and at one point prompted WND columnist and veteran actor Chuck Norris to ask if he could help correct the situation, has been fixed.
“Yesterday, individuals across the country who were willing to stand up on behalf of our nation’s religious heritage saw a major victory,” announcedU.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., in a website statement this week.
Last year, WND reported Forbes responded to concerns the Christian heritage of the United States had been scrubbed from the 580,000-square-foot facility. He worked with other members of Congress until the Committee on House Administration and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee agreed to include references to the nation’s religious history in the project.
The facility has acres of marble floors and walls, photographs of Earth Day, information about an AIDS rally and details about industry but did not originally have plans to include America’s Christian heritage.
The facility, 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 many 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.
Forbes said the nation’s motto was identified as “E Pluribus Unum,” not the correct “In God We Trust.” Those words were conspicuously absent from the entire facility, and the Pledge of Allegiance also was ignored in the original planning, among other inaccuracies.
National Motto at new visitors center in Washington, D.C.
Forbes eventually organized a letter signed by 108 members of Congress expressing concern the historical content was inaccurate, prompting the committee’s determination to make changes.
“After more than a year of fighting to restore references to our nation’s spiritual history stripped from the newly-constructed $621-million Capitol Visitor Center, the engraving of our national motto ‘In God We Trust’ was unveiled,” Forbes said.
“When I along with several other members of the Prayer Caucus first toured the newly constructed Capitol Visitor Center, we were troubled to learn that the center was stripped of all references to America’s religious heritage and it contained a number of factual inaccuracies, including incorrectly stating that our national motto was ‘E Pluribus Unum’ and inaccurately representing Capitol church services,” the congressman continued.
He said among the changes also will be a permanent religious history display.
“The ‘In God We Trust’ engraving was completed and unveiled this week and the Pledge of Allegiance is scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks,” he said.
“This was accomplished due to the efforts of so many individuals in Congress and across the country who were willing to stand up on behalf of our nation’s religious heritage. Thousands of visitors will walk through the center each day. The efforts of the individuals that have joined in this issue have enabled those visitors to experience a more accurate depiction of our nation’s heritage written in stone.”
Among those raising questions was longtime martial arts champion, actor and now WND columnist Chuck Norris. In a column at the time he cited other examples of censorship of faith, including the fact the opening words in Article 3 in the Northwest Ordinance were excluded from an exhibit. Those words are: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
Instead, the exhibit read “schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
Norris also cited the inclusion of photographs from Earth Day, an AIDS rally and casinos but the exclusion of documentation of events such as the National Day of Prayer or the March for Life.
Chaplain Todd DuBord, who works with Norris’ TopKick Productions, told WND at the time Norris asked him to contact the Congressional Prayer Caucus “to see if there is anything we can do to help them rectify the situation.”
“Is it merely coincidental that so many acts of revisionism have occurred over the last couple years at governmental historical sites?” Norris asked at the time. “Is it merely coincidental that the more modern memorials in Washington (like the Roosevelt and World War II memorials) bear virtually no religious inscriptions at all, while all the former ones do? Is it merely coincidental that liberal erasers are right now busy elsewhere in the country deleting our Judeo-Christian heritage for the sake of fully secularizing our nation’s past for future generations? Of course not. Friends, we must stop these revisionist travesties from taking one more step. We must preserve the fact that our founders weren’t creating a secular state but a sectarian-free state – and there is a huge difference.”
In fact, WND reported just a day ago the provisions for the decorations to be used on the 2009 Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington were changed by the office of the Architect of the Capitol so that religious references could be included.
Until that change, references such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Birthday, Jesus” were banned.
Numerous other revisionist attempts to remove God and Christianity from America’s history in Washington have been documented by DuBord, who 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.
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.