Yesterday, the $621 million U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, over-budget and behind schedule, opened to the public. (Washington Post.) South Carolina Republican Senator Jame DeMint almost delayed the opening further, according to the McClatchy Newspapers yesterday. DeMint complains that the Center "fails to appropriately honor our religious heritage that has been critical to America’s success." (DeMint Press Release.) Problems began when, on a preview tour, DeMint discovered that a panel on a wall incorrectly identified "E Pluribus Unum", rather than "In God We Trust" as the national motto. The chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee have agreed to support removal of the erroneous reference to "Our Nation's Motto" (which has been temporarily plastered over), and to adding engravings of "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent locations in the Visitor Center. DeMint says:
While the Architect of the Capitol has pledged to include some references to faith, more needs to be done.... The current ... displays are left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history. 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.'DeMint particularly objects to the engraving near the entrance reading: "We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution."