I'm a fighter for the freedoms of speech and religion. They are our constitutional rights -- what the First Amendment is all about. But those freedoms don't give atheists the entitlement to eliminate or revise America's religious heritage in the new $621 million taxpayer-provided Capitol Visitor Center in Washington.
This month, the House and Senate passed identical resolutions approving the engravings of the national motto ("In God We Trust") and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent places in the Capitol Visitor Center -- a 580,000-square-foot facility under the Capitol -- where 15,500 guests visit each day.
Spearheading the measures were Rep. Daniel Lungren, R-Calif., Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who are leaders who also have drawn attention to the oversight of religious heritage in the CVC. The YouTube video of Forbes addressing the House on this matter -- called "Our Judeo-Christian Nation" -- has received about 2.5 million hits to date, making it one of the most widely viewed floor speeches in YouTube history. Also, some of the 19 omissions and inaccuracies in the CVC can be seen on the YouTube posting called "War on God."
Engraving the motto and pledge in the CVC sounds so basic and reasonable, doesn't it? Apparently not to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics, which filed suit in an effort to prevent the engravings.
According to The Associated Press, the Freedom From Religion Foundation says its lawsuit is based upon the foundations that "both the motto and the words 'under God' in the pledge were adopted during the Cold War as anti-communism measures. Engraving them at the entrance to the U.S. Capitol would discriminate against those who do not practice religion and unfairly promote a Judeo-Christian perspective." (I guess that also transforms our coins and bills, which have "In God We Trust" on them, into Christian tracts?) How preposterous!
Some members of Congress who supported the measure are already denouncing the claims as ludicrous.
"This lawsuit is another attempt by liberal activists to rewrite history and deny that America's Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
Lungren said he was expecting a lawsuit but called the claims "patently absurd."
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