Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Laus Deo"

Laus Deo, "Praise be to God" is engraved on the capstone of the Washington Monument. That is apparently one of the many acknowledgements of God to be found in public buildings and on public monuments in our nation's capital.

Newt Gingrich, whose first career was as a history professor, has produced a film titled Rediscovering God in America, described on its site:
This film follows Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich on their "walking tour" through Washington, D.C. At each stop of the walking tour we'll see evidence of God in America. From the National Archives and Capitol Building to Arlington National Cemetery and Library of Congress, the role of religion in our nation's founding is examined and explained. ....

The goal of this film is best stated by Gingrich himself, "The next time a friend or colleague says that religious expression has no place in the public square and that discussion of God has no place in our children's history and government classes, you will only need to tell them about what you experienced on this simple walk to remind them of God's role in America's history - and America's future."
James Antle, who attended the premier of the film last night, said of it:
Rediscovering God is an effective rebuttal to those who would banish religion from the public square, without overstating the historical case as some conservative "Christian nation" exponents tend to do. The film offers a balanced look at church and state in the United States, emphasizing that the idea that our rights come from God extends liberty to many faiths or none at all. The DVD wouldn't make a bad stocking stuffer.
Rediscovering God in America


  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Thanks Jim
    What a beautiful Web-Site. From the persons cited in the quotes this seems to be a strong reminder that the tenets of Faith have not lost place in the Public Square
    This looks like one of those purchases that come around on rare occasions.

  2. Ken,
    Do you think any of those inscriptions could be installed today?

  3. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I have to see the DVD (Only the Web Site so far)which I look forward to doing. I think it depends on the rational. Here are the questions I would ask in having them put up today:
    Would the persons putting them up be statisfied with a Civil Religion explanation?
    Would they allowed the informing of the enlightment?
    Would they use it as a tool for intentional evangelization?
    Is it reflective of the Culture of the community not in a majoritarian sense?
    The reason I need to see the DVD if I am correct many of the DC monuments were built during FDR's presidency as part as the government plan for putting people to work. The quotes on them under his adminstration would be used to reflect civil religion.
    Could they be done again? I need to see the quotations and place them in context. I would think in historical Civil Religion settings yes.

  4. Ken,
    I doubt that you are right. I wish you were. I suspect the BJC would be on the opposite side.

    FDR was able to lead the nation in prayer on the radio. A President [any President] doing that today would be considered outrageous, no matter how careful they were to phrase it.

    Times and attitudes have changed, as has the case law. A legal regime that can't tolerate the Ten Commandments on public property is actively chasing religion out of the public square.

  5. Anonymous12:56 PM

    I'm not sure what BJC's position would be for they seem in their Friends of the Court briefs to let alone many of the Civil Religion Practices.
    Not all Ten Commsndments monuments have come down (i.e The Court's ruling about the Texas monument.)
    Thank You again for this link and many others that are of great value.


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