Eagle Scout brings religion to U.S. Capitol

Matt White

Secularism was soundly defeated this week by an Eagle Scout’s love for his grandfather and a vast pro-religion public outcry.

Andrew Larochelle, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Dayton, Ohio, bought a flag through a congressional program that entitled him to have the flag flown over the U.S. Capitol. Larochelle also paid for a custom message on a certificate of authenticity accompanying his flag.

The message Larochelle desired was: “In honor of my grandfather Marcel Larochelle, and his dedication and love of God, country and family.”

The flag flew over our nation’s Capitol on Sept. 11 — his grandfather’s birthday — but when the package containing his flag and certificate came in the mail it had been censored; the word “God” had been removed from the certificate.

Larochelle’s next step was to contact a congressman — Republican Dave Camp — who brought the issue to the attention of his fellow lawmakers at the U.S. House of Representatives.

The party guilty of the censorship was the U.S. Capitol’s architect, an unelected, low-level official who refused to allow religious or political messages. The architect’s reasoning was messages of this sort may offend some Americans, a disgusting display of political correctness.

In a statement before the House, Camp said: “This is insulting as it is absurd. The architect has gone way too far. If we can put ‘in God we trust’ on our money, then we can certainly put it on a flag certificate when a citizen wants it there.”

Dozens of House members signed a letter to Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi requesting a change in the policies and questioning where the authority of the architect came from. The really sad thing is, rather than join with them, Pelosi instead stood against them.

Pelosi said: “It’s not about being anti-religion. It’s just about what the architect thought was appropriate for him to proclaim in a certificate.”

Whatever Pelosi thinks about the appropriate realm for freedom of religious expression, it speaks volumes about her that she was willing to rationalize and justify the actions of the architect.

Her slimy, relativistic, California values blind her to the notion of a healthy interaction between religion and the state, without an endorsement of any religion in particular. This healthy interaction can be found in the prayers offered before the beginning of congressional sessions, the prayer offered every morning in front of the United States Supreme Court, and the fact that “God” can be found in the Pledge of Allegiance. Also, among many other things, in the vast majority of our nations’ government buildings, religious decorations are built into their very structures — much like the heart of our nation.

Ultimately, the architect’s position was reversed — the Eagle Scout won. It’s because of people such as Larochelle who are willing to stand up for what’s right and good in this world that we have a nation worth taking pride in and defending.

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].