Where God is Carved in Stone on the National Mall

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Carol M. Highsmith / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Many people take this to mean that the government should have nothing to do with God in any way.

So it’s ironic that God is literally carved in stone on various buildings and memorials throughout the National Mall in Washington D.C. Whatever this fact may mean, it’s interesting to note, nonetheless.

Here are a few examples:

Jefferson Memorial

Ghpierson / Wikimedia Commons
Ghpierson / Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Jefferson was no Christian, but neither was he an atheist.

On the walls of his memorial are several quotes from him that invoke God.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons
Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

“Almighty God hath created the mind free…All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion…No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

Jim McKeeth / Wikimedia Commons
Jim McKeeth / Wikimedia Commons

And, of course, there’s these words he wrote for the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We…solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states…And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons
Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

Boy Scout Memorial

Robert / Flickr
Robert / Flickr

Did you know there’s a Boy Scout Memorial on the National Mall? It’s just south of the White House.

On the rim of its pool, it reads:

“This memorial was authorized by the Congress of the United States and directed in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in grateful tribute to the men and women whose generosity devotion and leadership have brought Scouting to the nation’s youth and to honor all members of the Boy Scouts of America who in days of peace and times of peril have their duty to God and their country.”

Brantly Millegan
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP

There’s a also a panel under the statues that has the Scout Oath, which reads:

“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God & my Country and to obey the Scout law to help other people at all times to keep myself physically strong mentally awake and morally straight.”

Library of Congress

Carol M. Highsmith / Wikimedia Commons
Carol M. Highsmith / Wikimedia Commons

The Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world. It’s also a gorgeous building.

The interior is filled with various quotes related to the pursuit of knowledge either painted on or etched into the walls, some of which invoke God. They include:

“For a web begun God sends thread.”

“Nature is the art of God.”

“The first creature of God was the light of sense; the last was the light of reason.”

“Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

“Thank God, I also am an American!”

Here are a few pics:

Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
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Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP

Washington Monument

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

As we mentioned in an earlier article, on the east side of the apex of the Washington Monument there’s the inscription: “Laus Deo,” meaning “God be praised.”

Since it’s hard to take pictures up-close of the top of the Washington Monument, here’s a picture of a replica of the aluminum apex. It’s a bit hard to make-out, but there on the right you can see the inscription “Laus Deo”:

via orcutts.com/DC.htm
via orcutts.com/DC.htm

Lincoln Memorial

David Bjorgen / Wikimedia Commons
David Bjorgen / Wikimedia Commons

The Lincoln Memorial calls itself a “temple” to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

But on the interior walls, etched in stone, are Lincoln’s own words pointing to the One he relied on. On one side is his Gettysburg Address, on the other his Second Inaugural Address, in both of which he invoked God.

Part of the Gettysburg Address reads:

“…this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP

And part of his Second Inaugural Address reads:

“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.

“The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.

“Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP
Brantly Millegan / ChurchPOP

Capitol Building

BeaLeiderman / Flickr
BeaLeiderman / Flickr

Front and center in the House chamber, right above the podium, are the words “In God we trust.”

Lawrence Jackson / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Lawrence Jackson / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Longworth House Office Building & Dirksen Office Building

Public Domain / ChurchPOP
Public Domain / ChurchPOP

Both of these congressional office buildings have copies of this plaque near their entrances, which reads, “In God we trust.”

USCapitol / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
USCapitol / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

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