We enter the rotunda of the Capitol. One of the great moments in American History paintings is of Reverend John Robinson’s prayer meeting aboard the Mayflower before the ship sailed for America. Another is De Soto and the discovery of the Mississippi River with a monk beside him in prayer placing a crucifix in the ground. And there are others such as Columbus and the baptism of Pocahontas. In the chapel is a stained glass window depicting George Washington in prayer with the inscription of in God We Trust above it. The Christian influences are all about. Our Founders were certain about their Divine Guidance and the need for it.
So when the President stands in the Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address, above and just behind the President are the words, In God We Trust. They are there as a reminder to every Senator, Representative, and all the others present. Above the gallery door is a relief statue of Moses. The east entrance to the Senate Chamber has the Latin inscription meaning, God has favored our understanding. And you will find more times when we reiterate In God We Trust.
As we exit the grand edifice that graces the east end of the capital mall, we stop a moment on the steps. And it is here the President places a hand on the Bible, the Christian Bible, the Bible of our God in whom we place our trust, and pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and to serve this nation.
We are what we are: we are a nation that was founded to attain religious freedom. a nation that recognized the role of Divine Guidance in its creation, and the need to trust in that Divine Guidance.
We walk toward the White House, where we started our walk together. When we reach the White House, the people’s house, our footprints will have made a Christian cross.
We leave the magic of the Tidal Basin in cherry blossom time and head for the Capitol. The significance of the three “greats” we have just visited in our walk, Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, will be even greater as we see the home of the Legislative Branch of our government. This branch was created to make certain that we remained “We the People.” I thought about the arguments that were present as our Founders struggled and argued passionately about creating a government that would ensure a legacy of freedom. What was needed to insure the continuation of this great experiment in self-government?
They had no pattern; this was not a cookie-cutter government. They had no former path to follow. They knew that power had to always rest with the people; they knew that they had to have checks and balances. They also had to have a branch that adjudicated when differences could be settle no other way. They created our republic. They created this “shining city on a hill.”
They fought; they struggled; they died to create a new birth of freedom under God with justice for all, with the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. They declared their independence from tyranny and abused power. They created this government where the Executive Branch, the president, is one leg, but only one leg of three. The Capitol building we see ahead houses another one of the legs. The arguments about this branch were vigorous and passionate. Some wanted a strong central government and others wanted the power to be decentralized.
The Founders finally decided on having two groups: to create equality between the small and large states, each state would have two senators; the second group would be based on the population of the state, the representatives.
Our next part of the walk is to explore the art in the Capitol that depicts our Christian heritage.