The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Washington, D.C.-based American Humanist Association (AHA) are demanding that a Georgia school remove two Scripture verses from a sculpture that sits outside of the field house at Madison County High School in Danielsville, Georgia.
“In addition to the school logo and the slogan ‘Home of the Red Raiders,’ the sculpture at issue contains two Bible verses: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ from Romans 8:31 and ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ from Philippians 4:13. The monument was paid for by private funds, but the identity of the sponsor has not been revealed.”
These two bullying organizations claim the use of the Scripture passages violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to protect the states from the Federal government interfering with religion, speech, press, and assembly. That’s why the First Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law. . .”
These anti-Christian organizations are turning the First Amendment on its head claiming it requires the opposite of what it was designed to do.
Not only can’t the national government establish a religion, but it can’t “prohibit the free exercise of religion.” These two atheist organizations want the courts to step in and rule contrary to the Constitution, the history of the United States, and specifically Christian elements found in numerous government buildings.
“The district violates the Constitution when it allows its schools to display religious symbols messages. Schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion,” the letter from FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel asserted.
Really? There is nothing in the Constitution that says this. In addition, how does Mr. Seidel explain the following inscriptions, mottoes, engravings, and paintings on government buildings that are no different from what’s on the statue of Madison County High School?
1. The words “In God We Trust” are inscribed in the House and Senate chambers.
2. On the walls of the Capitol dome, these words appear: “The New Testament according to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
3. In the Rotunda of the Capitol is the figure of the crucified Christ.
4. A painting depicting “The Baptism of Pocahontas at Jamestown” (1613) hangs in the Capitol Rotunda.
5. The “Embarkation of the Pilgrims” shows Elder William Brewster holding a Bible opened to the title page which reads “The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The words “God With Us” are inscribed on the lower corner sail of the ship. The painting hangs in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
6. A relief of Moses hangs in the House Chamber. Moses is surrounded by twenty-two other lawgivers.
7. The Latin phrase Annuit Coeptis, “[God] has smiled on our undertaking,” is inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States.
8. The Liberty Bell has Leviticus 25:10 prominently displayed in a band around its top: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto the inhabitants thereof.”
9. President Eliot of Harvard chose Micah 6:8 for the walls of the Library of Congress: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”
10. The lawmakers’ library quotes the Psalmist’s acknowledgment of the beauty and order of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). In addition, the words of Jesus from John 1:5 are inscribed: “The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”
11. Engraved on the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are the Latin words Laus Deo, “Praise be to God.” Lining the walls of the stairwell are numerous Bible verses: “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39), “Holiness to the Lord,” and “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
12. The crier who opens each session of the Supreme Court closes with the words, “God save the United States and the Honorable Court.”
13. At the opposite end of the Lincoln memorial, words and phrases from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address allude to “God,” the “Bible,” “providence,” “the Almighty,” and “divine attributes.”
14. A plaque in the Dirksen Office Building has the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” in bronze relief. There’s also one in the main lobby of the Longworth House Office Building.
15. The Jefferson Memorial includes these words from Thomas Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
16. Each president, with the exception of Thomas Jefferson, has taken the presidential oath with his left hand placed on an open Bible. “At the conclusion, Washington and the others went in procession to St. Paul’s Chapel, and there they invoked the blessing of God upon the new government.”
17. The bronze Senate Doors show George Washington taking the presidential oath with his hands on an open Bible.
18. State mottos: Arizona (“God Enriches”), Florida (“In God We Trust”), Ohio (“With God all Things are Possible”),1 Colorado (“Nothing Without Providence”), Maryland (“With the shield of thy goodwill thou hast covered us”), Connecticut (“He who transplanted still sustains”), and South Dakota (“Under God, the People Rule”).
19. A ten-foot high mural of Moses and the Ten Commandments can be seen in the State Supreme Court in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “The larger-than-life-size painting depicting Moses chiseling two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments spelled out below has graced the walls of the Supreme Court for 75 years.” It’s now been 91 years.
“[T]he building’s walls are peppered with religious images and biblical quotations. Religious themes permeate the Capitol building’s impressive design, from quotes engraved in the broad granite from entrance to the green dome on top patterned after St. Peter’s Basilica.
“A few years back, state Rep. Jerry Stern . . . published a pamphlet identifying 39 biblical quotations on Capitol walls.”2
21. All 50 state constitutions make reference to God or Providence with “Almighty God” being the most used phraseology.
22. The same year that Congress approved adding the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, both houses of Congress passed a resolution directing the Capitol architect to make available “a room, with facilities for prayer and meditation, for the use of members of the Senate and House of Representatives.”
“The history that gives this room its inspirational lift is centered in the stained glass window. George Washington kneeling in prayer . . . is the focus of the composition. . . . Behind Washington a prayer is etched: ‘Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust,’ the first verse of the sixteenth Psalm. There are upper and lower medallions representing the two sides of the Great Seal of the United States. On these are inscribed the phrases: annuit coeptis—‘God has favored our undertakings’—and novus ordo seclorum—‘A new order of the ages is born.’ Under the upper medallion is the phrase from Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address, ‘This Nation under God.’. . . The two lower corners of the window each show the Holy Scriptures, an open book and a candle, signifying the light from God’s law, ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path’ [Psalm 119:105].”3
The prayer room is decidedly Christian in character. The Bible is featured, not the Book of Mormon, the Koran, or any other religious writings. Religious citations are taken exclusively from the Bible.
23. The Constitution identifies the date of its drafting as in 1787 “in the year of our Lord.”
- The Cincinnati based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the motto violates the U.S. Constitution. This decision overturned a 1998 decision which declared that the motto was not unconstitutional. [↩]
- Gettysburg Times (October 3, 2003), A4. [↩]
- The Capitol (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1979), 24–25. [↩]