Examples on display include a copy of the Bible used to administer the oath of office to senators until 1882; portraits of the first House and Senate chaplains; information about religious services regularly held in the Capitol through the 1800s; an unaltered display of the U.S. Constitution highlighting the First Amendment and the right to freedom of religion; copies of both the Pledge of Allegiance and the prayer recited at the opening of the current Congress; and finally, Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance in its entirety, which states in part: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
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