Capitol Visitor's Center

Capitol Visitor's Center
Kerby Anderson

Barack Obama took the oath of office on Abraham Lincoln's Bible. Placing his hand as president on Lincoln's Bible was a wonderful symbol of what has transpired in this country over the last 148 years.

But there is some irony in all of this. Although Obama used Lincoln's Bible for his inauguration, Congress has refused to include this Bible in its display in the new Capitol Visitors Center. Ironically, the designers of the center did include the display table that Lincoln used to hold his Bible, but have not included the Bible.

For the last few months some members of Congress have complained that there are historical inaccuracies at the Capitol Visitors Center and that the designers seemed to deliberately remove many religious aspects of American history from the displays.

Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA) said that the center was obscuring references to the country's Christian history by removing the national motto from the building and replacing it with "E Pluribus Unum." Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said in a strongly worded press release that the center failed "to appropriately honor our religious heritage that has been critical to America's success." He also objected to a 19th century quote on the center's door that said: "We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution."

Some were concerned with the center's exhibit known as the "Wall of Aspirations." Dr. Matthew Spaulding of The Heritage Foundation says the exhibit is "Congress' temple to liberals' living Constitution, the eternal font of lawmakers evolv ing mandate to achieve the nation's ideals."

Fortunately, some of the criticisms were heard and some changes have been made. "In God We Trust" was engraved in a place of prominence in the center. The Pledge of Allegiance was also added, with its phrase "One nation, under God."

But some members of Congress believe more should be done. We don't need a secular, politically correct center that ignores vital aspects of our history.

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