Congressman Steve King is outraged by a lawsuit filed to a group trying to prevent the motto "In God We Trust" from being engraved in a wall in the new Capitol Visitors Center.
"I have said all along that there is an effort to scrub the word ‘God’ from anything that we have here (in Washington, D.C.) that commemorates our history and our values," King says. "And it has been driven and now confirmed by the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, the atheists from Madison, Wisconsin."
The lawsuit was filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It’s considered the largest group of American atheists and agnostics. The group’s lawsuit is trying to prevent the engravings of the motto "In God We Trust" as well as the Pledge of Allegiance — which includes the phrase "Under God" — from going on the walls of the Capitol Visitors Center. The group argues the taxpayer-funded engravings would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
The group directly mentions King in its lawsuit, citing his complaints that the Capitol Visitors Center "portrays the role of religion as less central than (he believes) is appropriate."
"Being named in the lawsuit I think is flattering and I’m glad they noticed that what we say here does matter," King says, "but it tells you that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has clearly been lobbying members of congress to block references to religion in the Visitors Center."
The phrase "In God We Trust" was declared the national motto in 1956 and "In God We Trust" has been printed on U.S. currency since 1957. King, a Republican from Kiron in western Iowa, says the lawsuit is another attempt by "liberal activists to rewrite history" and deny that religion played a role in the nation’s founding.
"There are strong efforts in this country to eradicate references to religion from our history and from our public buildings," King says. "It isn’t accurate from a historical standpoint, the position that they take. God was very much a part of the lives of our founding fathers and very much a part of our lives today, but yet we’re up against this and it’s clearly confirmed by the lawsuit that’s been filed."
The Freedom from Religion Foundation has asked a federal judge to issue an injunction that would put a halt to the project to engrave "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance in the Capitol Visitors Center.