Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wicker and Harper defend “In God We Trust”
Senator Roger Wicker and Representative Gregg Harper today announced they have signed a legal brief opposing a lawsuit aimed at removing the phrase “In God We Trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance from the wall of the newly built Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C.
The Mississippi lawmakers joined 42 other U.S. legislators and the American Center for Law and Justice in filing a “friend-of-the-court” amicus brief urging the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The Wisconsin-based atheist group has challenged the constitutionality of using the word “God” in the new visitor center, which is located underground between the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court.
“This lawsuit is an outrageous attempt to ignore the historical role religion has played in shaping our nation,” Wicker said. “The importance of faith and belief in God is on display every single day in the Capitol. There are multiple references to God exhibited in the building, and both the House and Senate open each day in prayer.
Referencing God in the new visitor center is not only appropriate, it is also necessary in order to accurately tell the story of the Capitol’s history.”
“As our founders were drafting the Constitution and forming our nation, numerous sources point to their reliance on God for direction and wisdom,” Harper said. “The installation of these two enduring references stand as constant reminders of the trust our founders placed in God for the guidance and providence in the birth, development and future of our nation. Attempts to remove these permanent fixtures of our country’s rich history and foundation are ill-advised and should be rejected.”
Contending the lawsuit “borders on frivolous,” the brief signed by Wicker and Harper argues that both the national motto and Pledge of Allegiance accurately reflect the historical fact that our nation was founded on a belief in God and that the constitutionality of both is well established in case law.
“Plaintiffs’ crusade, targeting of religious expression in the federal government, serves no purpose other than to waste judicial resources at a time in our nation’s history when those resources are needed in cases involving real threats to American liberties,” the brief asserts.
Both Wicker and Harper have strong records of supporting our nation’s religious heritage.
In 2007, Wicker authored legislation that forced the U.S. Mint to return the words “In God We Trust” to prominent display on the face of new presidential $1 coins. The phrase had initially been obscured from view by being placed on the rim of the coins.
In July, Harper was chosen by his Republican colleagues to lead the debate on the House floor in favor of the resolution that ultimately led to “In God We Trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance being included in the Capitol Visitor Center.
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