"a $600 million godless pit."


A friend sent me this email that was posted by Gary Palmer. He is the president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.

The article speaks for itself, but I would like to add two scriptures…


Psalm 118:8-9

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.   


Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.


Gary Palmer’s article-

Over the last three decades, liberal social engineers have been very successful in their efforts to purge our public school and college curricula of all references to the faith of our Founding Fathers. Now they are trying to do the same with our nation’s monuments, educational museums and national facilities. The most recent example of this is the new Capitol Visitor Center which opened on December 2nd in Washington, D.C.

This $621 million, 580,000 square-foot underground facility, three years behind schedule and $356 million over budget, was designed to give visitors to the U.S. Capitol an enhanced experience that would educate them about American history in addition to the history and purpose of our nation’s Capitol. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be another example of historical revisionism and political correctness.

In July, Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) sent a letter signed by 108 members of Congress to Steven Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, expressing their concerns over these problems. In September, Sen. DeMint took a pre-opening tour of the facility with Ayers and was so dismayed by the historical errors, misrepresentations and blatant omissions regarding the role of religion in America that he threatened to delay the opening until corrections were made.

For instance, etched in marble in the Unity panel of the Wall of Aspirations at the entrance to the education section of the Exhibition Hall is the theme of the hall, “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One,” which was incorrectly identified as our national motto. Our national motto is “In God We Trust.” Moreover, “In God We Trust” is etched in stone above the Speaker’s rostrum in the chambers of the House of Representatives. Yet, those words are missing from the replica of the rostrum on display in the visitor center. I find it hard to believe that the exhibit designers were not intentional in their misrepresentations and omissions.

On the day of the official opening, DeMint issued a statement criticizing the visitor center for “omitting the history of faith.” He described the visitor center displays as “left-leaning” and in some cases, a distortion of America’s true history that ignores the role of religion in our nation’s founding. He said, “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.”

In addition, DeMint said that the visitor center 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.’”

Not only does the visitor center attempt to erase the historical record of the influence of Christianity in the founding of our nation, it also reinterprets the Constitution.

As you know, the Constitution is a contract between the people and the United States government. It affirms that the powers of the federal government are limited and delegated by the people, thereby fulfilling the promise of the Declaration of Independence that they are “… derived from the consent of governed.” The Articles of the Constitution that form the basis of our government list the limited powers which the people have granted to the government.

According to the visitor center exhibits, however, the Constitution is not about limited powers, but about aspirations of unity, freedom, common defense, knowledge, exploration and the general welfare. The center uses these constitutional aspirations to justify the expansive reach of today’s federal government. For instance, “promoting the general welfare” which is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution has been reinterpreted from a restriction on Congress’ power to tax to mean “improving transportation, promoting agriculture and industry, protecting health and the environment, and seeking ways to solve social and economic problems.”

Such a view of the Constitution would justify Congressional subsidies and bailouts, nationalized health care, socialistic environmental policies and the reengineering of our society and culture.

After his visit to the center, Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation described the exhibit as Congress’ temple to liberals’ idea of a “living Constitution.” He wrote, “The Constitution is an empty vessel, to be adapted to the times, as required to bring change. It means nothing – or anything.”

As DeMint pointed out in his statement, the prominent display that visitors first see as they enter this facility proclaims faith in government, rather than faith in God. The first thing they see is a large engraving above the entrance to the center that states, “We have no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.”

What should be a wonderful addition to our nation’s Capitol is simply the latest example of liberal bureaucrats projecting their politically correct, leftist agenda and historically inaccurate revision of history. It is a $621 million expression of the liberals’ idea of what America should be. Or as one member of congress described it, the center is “… a $600 million godless pit.”


December 5, 2008

Note: This column is a copyrighted feature distributed free of charge by the Alabama Policy Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and API are properly cited. For information or comments contact: Gary Palmer, Alabama Policy Institute, 402 Office Park Drive, Suite 300, Birmingham, Alabama 35223, (205) 870-9900, e-mail garyp@alabamapolicy.org. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this column, please e-mail joannel@alabamapolicy.org.



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