Religion in Society

Atheists Oppose Religion in New Capitol Visitors Center

| by American Atheists

An Atheist public policy group today urged Congress to reject a House Resolution that would use more tax money to display religious mottos in the new Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) in Washington, DC.

Introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Ca.), the measure instructs the Capitol Architect to erect displays at the Center which include revised versions of the national motto ("In God We Trust) and the Pledge of Allegiance (includes "Under God.").

Dr. Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists, said that displaying religious slogans on government property "violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment, and is an insult to the millions of Americans without religious beliefs."

"Every American who cares about religious liberty should oppose this divisive establishment of religion which uses public tax dollars to support religious bigotry," added Buckner.

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, noted that the national motto was "E Pluribus Unum" ("One out of Many") until 1956. The words "under God" were added to the Pledge in 1954 at the behest of certain religious and civic groups. Both practices continue to be challenged in the courts.

"These slogans are inappropriate today, especially at the Capitol Visitor Center which was built with over $600 million in public money to welcome all Americans to our nation's capital," said Mr. Silverman.

Buckner said that American Atheists will be urging its members to speak out against the Lungren plan.