DeMint: New Capitol Visitor Center Omits History of Faith

December 2, 2008 – Greenville, S.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on the opening of the new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) in Washington, D.C. He recently fought to include prominent displays of our national motto, “In God We Trust,” and the Pledge of Allegiance within the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol has also been instructed to consider the rich faith heritage of our Nation when selecting the content of any future display.

“The Capitol Visitor Center is designed to tell the history and purpose of our nation’s Capitol, but it fails to appropriately honor our religious heritage that has been critical to America’s success,” said Senator DeMint. “While the Architect of the Capitol has pledged to include some references to faith, more needs to be done. You cannot accurately tell the history of America or its Capitol by ignoring the religious heritage of our Founders and the generations since who relied on their faith for strength and guidance. The millions of visitors that will visit the CVC each year should get a true portrayal of the motivations and inspirations of those who have served in Congress since its establishment.

The current CVC displays are left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history. Exhibits portray the federal government as the fulfillment of human ambition and the answer to all of society’s problems. This is a clear departure from acknowledging that Americans’ rights ‘are endowed by their Creator’ and stem from ‘a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.’ Instead, the CVC’s most prominent display proclaims faith not in God, but in government. Visitors will enter reading a large engraving that states, ‘We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.’ This is an intentional misrepresentation of our nation’s real history, and an offensive refusal to honor America’s God-given blessings. As George Washington stated clearly in his first inaugural address:

…[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge.’

“The fundamental principles of the freedom we enjoy in this country stem from our Founding Fathers’ beliefs in a higher power, beliefs put forth in the Declaration of Independence and manifest throughout our Constitution,” said Senator DeMint. “If we cease to acknowledge this fact, we may cease to enjoy some of the freedoms we take for granted. We must not censor historical references to God for the sake of political correctness. And we must truthfully represent the limited form of government the Constitution lays out so that our ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’ So help us God.”

UPDATE: Glenn Beck talks with Senator Jim DeMint

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20 Responses to DeMint: New Capitol Visitor Center Omits History of Faith

  1. Ryan says:

    The United States of America is not a Christian country, and it is not appropriate to link government buildings, organizations or policies with a belief in God.

    Very few of the founding fathers expressed religious beliefs. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Allen, and Franklin all spoke out against Christianity, and some explicitly denied that Jesus was God.

    It is you that has your history wrong.

  2. Ryan,

    You are so off base that it’s hard to believe you’re not joking, but alas, you are serious.

    From the Pilgrims who came to America “for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith“, to John Hancock and the Massachusetts Congress who called for May 17, 1776 to

    be observed by the said Colonies as a day of HUMILIATION, FASTING, and PRAYER; that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere, repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood.

    to the Continental Congress national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation on November 1, 1777 which said:

    …their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ

    to George Washington’s October 3, 1789 national Thanksgiving Proclamation which said:

    … that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations

    (Of course, this great Lord and Ruler of Nations is Jesus Christ.)

    to Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention, holding together the squabbling group with the following:

    I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

    I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business

    to the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who said:

    Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

    to President John Adams’ March 23, 1798 national Fasting and Prayer proclamation which said:

    …beseeching him, at the same time, of his infinite Grace, through the Redeemer of the world

    (The Redeemer of the world is Jesus Christ)

    to the Supreme Court in 1892 which said:

    this is a Christian nation

    Ryan, you are sadly mistaken in your view of our founders. Do yourself a favor and read the posts I have placed in the “Christian Nation” category.

  3. Ryan says:

    “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!”
    – John Adams

    During Adam’s administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

    Thomas Jefferson referred to the Revelation of St. John as “the ravings of a maniac”

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
    -James Madison

    Many of the founding fathers were deists, but very few were Christian. That they believed in a “god” was normal for the time. The belief in god is certainly part of our cherished history, and I have no problem acknowledging that. But don’t pretend that they were Christians.

  4. Ryan,

    First, you provide no links to back up your assertions.

    Second, the treaty to which you refer is the Treaty of Tripoli. Read what I wrote there.

    There is no need to “pretend” our founders were Christians. It’s clear from what I have written in my last comment and in the previous posts in the Christian Nation category.

  5. Ryan says:

    I don’t need to supply you with links – these quotes are all in the public record, and can easily be found online.

    You are truly blinded by your faith – but I guess that’s the whole idea of faith. Why can’t you just be a Christian in a great nation, instead of imposing your religion on others who do not share an interest in the supernatural.

  6. Ryan,

    I’m not “imposing my religion on others”. I’m working to prevent others from removing the very foundation on which this Constitutional Republic stands. If you remove the foundation, the Republic falls.

    The most important business in this Nation–or any other nation, for that matter-is raising and training children. If those children have the proper environment at home, and educationally, very, very few of them ever turn out wrong. I don’t think we put enough stress on the necessity of implanting in the child’s mind the moral code under which we live.

    The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days.

    If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.

    -Democratic President Harry S. Truman

  7. Ryan says:

    Your argument simply does not hold true. What particular foundation(s), if removed, would cause the republic to fall. And please, it better be a “foundation” that is exclusive to a religious society.

  8. Circi,

    Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate your putting the quote from Thomas Jefferson in its proper context.

    As you see, Thomas Jefferson made the point that without religion, this world would be hell on earth (see those living under communist rule in Soviet Russia)

    A point echoed by President Ronald Reagan.

  9. Circi says:

    The quote from Thomas Jefferson is from a letter in which he recalls a conversation between a Parson and a Schoolteacher:

    “…The Parson and the Pedagogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about government and religion. One day, when the Schoolmaster had been more that commonly fanatical and declared if he were a Monarch, He would have but one Religion in his Dominion. The Parson cooly replied ‘Cleverly! You would be the best man in the world, if you had no religion.’
    Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!’ But in this exclamatic I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell…”

    As you see, Thomas Jefferson made the point that without religion, this world would be hell on earth (see those living under communist rule in Soviet Russia)

    James Madison’s quotes (as well as most of the others) are referring specifically to religion AS ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE (i.e. Anglican Church). They were nearly all Christians (of one stripe or another) and saw the universal promotion and protection of religion and religious freedoms by the government as vital to the perseverance of our nation. To assume that they were against any mention of God in the public square is beyond absurd and completely revisionist.

  10. Josh says:

    I agree with Circi, I have encountered many people on the internet and in RL that use certain quotes from the Founding Fathers to prove their point that the US was not founded on Christian principles.

    What has to be remembered is many times these quotes are taken out of context, as with the Jefferson quote, or simply misunderstood. It also must be remembered that in some cases when the Founders are speaking against religion it is not the Christian faith they are speaking against, but the institution of the church.

    There is a difference between the two that some do not seem to understand. It is possible to be against the church as a institution, but remain loyal to the faith.

    In the case of many of the original Thirteen States the founding colonists were Christians but fled from the institution of the church in their home countries. For example, the Anglican Church in England drove many to the New World because with the backing of the Stuart Monarchy they did not brook dissenting takes on the faith.

    In the case of the Founding Fathers of the American Republic it is similar. While freedom of worship may not have been one of the primary causes of their choice to rebel against the British Empire they did chafe under the Anglican Church. As a result when they founded the American Republic they made sure that something like what they, and their ancestors, endured under the Anglicans never happened again.

    The result is this: The United States of America was founded on a mixture of Christian principle, Republican Rome, and a conservative interpretation of the Enlightenment (with the possible exception of Jefferson). They forbade the official adoption of a state religion not to create a state with out religion, but to create a state with no “official” religion so as to not repeat the mistake of the British.

    To suggest that the Founding Fathers would not have wanted us, their heirs, to remember the part the Christian Faith has played in the creation of the Republic is foolhardy and contrary to reason.

  11. Ryan says:

    My question remains unanswered. Which Christian value(s), unique to Christianity, helped form the nation? Can you name one?

  12. Our Constitution is unique, and uniquely founded on Biblical principles. Our three branches of goverment (articles I, II, and III of our Constitution) were inspired by the following Bible verse:

    (For the LORD is our Judge,
    The LORD is our Lawgiver,
    The LORD is our King;
    He will save us);

    Isaiah 33:22

    Our founders chose to call the head of the Executive branch “President” instead of “King” because they believed we have “no King but Jesus

  13. “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

    Patrick Henry

  14. Ryan says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think you had anything.

    All you can come up with is that there are 3 branches of government? That’s a uniquely Christian principal is it?

    I was going to write more, but then I took a look at the rest of your site. You aren’t really open to free thought, intelligent debate, or any sort of reason. You really need some help, and I hope you get it.

    my best wishes to you.

  15. Ryan,

    You said:

    Which Christian value(s), unique to Christianity, helped form the nation? Can you name one?

    You asked for one; I gave you one. A unique verse from the Christian Bible, and how it helped form the nation.

    You respond with an ad hominem attack, which is what liberals ALWAYS seem to do when they can’t argue the point.

    An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

    There’s more, but you appear to be leaving.

    My best wishes to you, too.

  16. Pingback: Obama Tells Muslims and Atheists What They Want to Hear « I Took The Red Pill (and escaped the Matrix)

  17. When it comes to the Founders and the Constitution, David Barton knows orders of magnitude more than Jon Stewart.

    Jon Stewart threw every straw man (that his staff gave him on note cards) that he could at David Barton, and Barton knocked every single one of those straw men down. Barton has spent decades studying thousands of primary source documents. Stewart has spent minutes, possibly hours, studying the note cards his staff gave him. It was no contest. Every time Stewart threw a false accusation at Barton, Barton countered with the truth. And every time, Stewart would interrupt Barton’s answer. Stewart could only crack a joke or change the subject; he couldn’t have a straight-up discussion of the truth.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-4-2011/david-barton-pt–1

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-4-2011/david-barton-pt–2

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-4-2011/exclusive—david-barton-extended-interview-pt–1

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-4-2011/exclusive—david-barton-extended-interview-pt–2

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-4-2011/exclusive—david-barton-extended-interview-pt–3

    I would love to see a similar discussion between David Barton and “Constitutional Law” lecturer Barack Obama.

    When it comes to the Founders and the Constitution, David Barton knows orders of magnitude more than Barack Obama.

  18. From WallBuilders

    As Discussed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show: John Adams 1809 Letter
    A December 21, 1809 letter by John Adams to Benjamin Rush.
    Read Letter »»

    As Discussed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show: Treaty of Tripoli
    The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, specifically article XI, is commonly misused in editorial columns, articles, as well as in other areas of the media, both Christian and secular.
    Read Article »»

    As Discussed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show: The Aitken Bible
    Robert Aitken’s Bible was the first known English-language Bible to be printed in America, and also the only Bible to receive Congressional approval.
    Read Article »»

    As Discussed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show: The Separation of Church and State
    In 1947, in the case Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared, “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”
    Read Article »»

    Letters Between the Danbury Baptists and Thomas Jefferson
    An 1801 letter from the Danbury Baptists and President Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 response in which he used the famous phrase “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
    Read Letters »»

    The Founders And Public Religious Expressions
    An article with quotes by various Founding Fathers on pubic religious expression.
    Read Article »»

  19. Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

    No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

    Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

    They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

    It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

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