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Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman yielding.
This legislation basically directs the Architect of the Capitol to quit ignoring history, just like the last piece of legislation where it is not mentioned anywhere in Emancipation Hall or the Visitor Center that this Capitol was built in due part by slave labor. Neither does that expensive Visitor Center mention any religious history that this country has.
I don't know if the Architect of the Capitol doesn't like the Pledge or approve of the national motto "In God We Trust'"; otherwise, both of those would already be in this expensive Visitor Center. Both mention God, and it appears that the Visitor Center, the way that it is conducted and constructed, wishes to disown and deny our religious heritage.
You go to the Visitor Center and you are led to believe, Mr. Speaker, that the national motto is not "In God We Trust" but it is "E Pluribus Unum," because the national motto is never mentioned in the propaganda video that all people see when they come into the Visitor Center. Well, the national motto is not "E Pluribus Unum." It is "In God We Trust," and that is the national motto and it should remain as such.
Mr. Speaker, our religious history is a part of American history. When the Founders of this great country got together in the Continental Congress, before they decided to draft this new concept of freedom and liberty, Benjamin Franklin made the comment that if the good Lord is concerned about the birds that fall from the air, certainly he would be concerned about the birth of a new nation; and with that, the Members of the Continental Congress knelt down and they prayed. And, Mr. Speaker, we have continued that tradition every day since the Continental Congress.
We start every day the same way. When the House is called to order, the first order of business is a prayer. The second order of business is the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and it is important that we continue those traditions, but it is also important that people who come to the Capitol understand that is part of our routine.
Mr. Speaker, "unless the Lord watches over this House, the builders build in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, those that watch watch in vain."
Above the flag behind you, Mr. Speaker, is the phrase ``In God We Trust.'' It is not to the side. It is not below it. It is above it, symbolic of what we do each day, that we pray and then we have the Pledge of Allegiance. So I strongly support this legislation to make sure that the Architect of the Capitol does not deny our religious history. Put it in its proper perspective, because religion is a part of our history, whether the Architect of the Capitol likes it or not.
And that's just the way it is.
**Note: This legislation passed the House 410-8
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