October 15, 2007, - 5:38 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
So long as it’s not “Allah,” I’m glad they’re putting G-d back in the certificates that accompany flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings.
Our money says, “In G-d We Trust.” Our Pledge of Allegiance (for now) includes “one nation under G-d”. Our love is for G-d, Country, and Family, not just the latter two. And in a reversal of ACLU-esque policy, the acting architect of the U.S. Capitol is allowing this, thanks to sharp, 17-year-old Eagle Scout Andrew Larochelle:
Lesson learned: The next time a 17-year-old Eagle Scout wants a flag flown over the Capitol to honor his grandather’s dedication to God, country and family, it will be fine by Stephen T. Ayres.
Ayres is acting architect of the Capitol, the official responsible for maintaining the tradition of flying the Stars and Stripes for members of the public. Any American may ask, through his or her representatives in Congress, that the flag be flown in honor of a person or event. After the big day, it is mailed, slightly used, with a certificate of authenticity, to the person who requested it.
It was Ayres’ office that was responsible for the disappointment of Andrew Larochelle. The 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Dayton, Ohio, had asked that Old Glory be flown last Sept. 11 in honor of his grandfather, veteran Marcel Larochelle, and his dedication to and love of the aforementioned trinity.
But when the flag arrived, Larochelle found that his sentiments had been edited: The certificate issued by Ayres’ office read that the flag had flown in honor of his grandfather‚Äôs dedication and love of country and family only.
Ayres cited a four-year-old rule that barred political or religious statements from the certificates.
That drew protests from Rep. Michael Turner, Larochelle’s congressman. The Ohio Republican gathered the signatures of more than 160 members of Congress for a letter of complaint to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and introduced legislation to reverse the policy.
“They are attempting to take God from the Pledge of Allegiance and now the architect is attempting to remove God from the certificates that come with flags flown over the Capitol,” Turner said. “The word ‘God’ is carved into the walls of both chambers of Congress. The architect is the custodian of the Capitol and currently maintains several religious symbols in the building. If permitted, removing ‘God’ from Capitol flag ceremonies will be the precedent for removing ‘God’ from the Capitol, and this cannot be permitted.”
Today, Ayres reversed the policy. The acting architect since February, he said the decision followed a review of guidelines that were codified in 2003 but had been practiced since the 1970s.
“My review revealed that, in fact, these rules have been inconsistently applied and that it is inappropriate and beyond the scope of this Agency’s responsibilities to censor messages from Members,” Ayres said. “The Architect’s role is to certify that flags are appropriately flown over the U.S. Capitol, and any messages on the flag certificates are personal and between a Member of Congress and his or her constituents.”
He (finally) got that right. G-d help this great nation.
Tags: acting architect, Andrew Larochelle, architect, Congress, congressman, custodian, Dayton, Eagle Scout, Eagle Scout Andrew Larochelle, G-d We Trust, House Speaker, Larochelle's congressman, Marcel Larochelle, Michael Turner, Nancy Pelosi, Ohio, Stars and Stripes, Stephen T. Ayres, The Stars and Stripes