The fundies are whining that it “doesn’t display America’s “Christian heritage” and are insisting that America is a Christian Nation and even though we are a melting pot of diverse beliefs and backgrounds, they want to force their Christianity in the faces of all visitors who pass through the visitor center.
Sandhya Bathija of AU states:
They are complaining that the Center, funded by more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars, is too secular and doesn’t display America’s “Christian heritage.” Apparently, they would rather push their own version of American history — that America is a “Christian nation” — so citizens who are non-Christian feel second-class when they tour our nation’s capitol.
Leading the campaign to promote these historical inaccuracies is David Barton, founder and president of Texas-based WallBuilders, a Religious Right organization pushing Barton’s sectarian version of American history. Barton has no credentials as a historian, and his historical accounts are based on “Christian nation” propaganda.
If you haven’t heard of WallBuilders and David Barton, here is a YouTube by RightWingWatchdotorg of David Barton at the Rediscovering God in America Conference in Florida on Jan. 21, 2008 where he discusses the “best way to control the political forces.”
When promoting mixing of god beliefs and government, evangelicals really do not understand the big can of worms they are opening up. First of all, they really do not understand that Washington and Jefferson and many other of our founding fathers were Deists. Thomas Paine wrote about how ludicrous the Christian beliefs and the Bible are. Evangelicals who would turn us into their kind of theocracy conveniently leave that part out and choose to be willfully ignorant of historical facts and the true meaning of our U.S. Constitution's first amendment.
Bathija continues to points out:
In a YouTube video produced by Wallbuilders, the group refers to the Center as a “$621 million shrine to political correctness” and urges Americans to write or call Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress asking them not “to use our federal tax dollars to further secularize America.”
Here is that video:
Last week, U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) announced that 108 members of Congress, including members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, signed a letter to the Architect of the Capitol complaining about the lack of references to God in the Center.
The letter complains that the Center includes photos from Earth Day celebrations and an AIDS rally but does not include photos from the National Day of Prayer or the March for Life events.
The letter isn’t Forbes’ first foray into Religious Right activism. In December 2007, the Virginia congressman introduced a resolution that would declare the first week in May as “American Religious History Week.” The measure also asked Congress to accept that “political scientists have documented that the most frequently-cited source in the political period known as The Founding Era was the Bible,” among other inflammatory historical inaccuracies.
The version of American history pushed by Barton and Forbes is their own skewed version. For the rest of us, we have learned since kindergarten that our founding fathers had enough sense to keep religion out of government and government out of religion in order to preserve religious liberty for all.
I’m pleased that the new Capitol Visitor Center hasn’t yielded to Religious Right propagandists. I hope it doesn’t do so now.
I hope it doesn’t do so now, also.