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Religious Significance of the George Washington and the Washington Monument-Mostly Truth!

Summary of the eRumor
The eRumor describes some of the inscriptions and design of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. in light of controversy over references to God in government settings.
 

 

 

 

The Truth
This one's got many statements in it, so let's take them one by one.

The words "Laus Deo" on the cap of the monument-
Truth!
There is an aluminum point crowning the apex of the monument. There are four sides, each facing a point of the compass.  According to the National Park Service, the north side lists the members of the joint commission that was in charge of the Washington monument project.  The west side lists the dates of the laying of the cornerstone, the first stone laid at the height of 152 fee, and the the setting of the capstone. The south side lists the names of chief engineer, the architect, and some of the workmen.  The east side simply has the words "Laus Deo" which is translated as "Praise be to God."

Washington DC was laid out to be in the design of a cross-Fiction!
It seems to be in the form of a cross, but there's no evidence that was the intent of the designer, architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant.  If one sees the layout of White House, the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol, and The Lincoln Memorial as the intended cross, it was not in the mind of Charles L'Enfant because he proposed the original design in 1791, which was long before it was decided that the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials would be built and where (1911 and 1934).

On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore-Truth!
There is a memorial stone in the wall at the 140-foot level with the following blessing:
"May heaven to this union continue its beneficence.  May brotherly affection with union be perpetual. May the free constitution which is the work of our ancestors be sacredly maintained and its administration be stamped with wisdom and virtue."

On the 20th landing is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians-
Truth!
It is from Christians from the port city of Ningpo, Chekiang Province, Mainland China and is a eulogy to George Washington.

On the 24th landing a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6.-Truth!
The memorial says it is presented by the Sunday Schools of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York and from the Sabbath School children of the Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia.  It then says "A preached Gospel" and "A free press" then closes with "Washington, we revere his memory."

The inscriptions include the Bible reference Proverbs 10:7.
There is also an open bible on the monument that includes Luke 18:16 where Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto me" and Proverbs 22:6, which says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

When the cornerstone was laid, one of the items in it was a Bible-Truth!
Several dozen items were placed into the monument at the laying of the cornerstone including, according to the National Park Service, a copy of the Bible presented by The Bible Society.

Washington's Prayer for America-
Truth! But altered.
This is an interesting one.
This "prayer of Washington" is widely circulated and reflects his true wishes about the United States because the bulk of it comes from his own words.

There is a certain lack of integrity with the prayer, however, in that he never really formally prayed it in the way that is circulated. Someone along the way decided to create the prayer from one of Washington's letters and package it in the fabricator's own religious cultural language.

The original words from Washington are from the closing paragraph of a letter to the governors of the 13 states on the occasion of his retirement from command of the Continental Army and public life.  We consulted John C. Fitzpatrick's collection of the writings of George Washington that are available through the University of Virginia Library and which includes the text of the letter.

In the letter, Washington said that he wanted the governors to convey his words to their legislatures and that he hoped it would be regarded as coming from someone who always wished to be useful to his country and who in the shade of retirement would not fail to "implore divine benediction upon it."

Then his final paragraph contains the words of his benediction:

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

The prayer that is circulated, however, adds a formal salutation and prayer ending, changes it to King James English (used for formal prayers among many Christian groups), changes some of the wording, and leaves out words from the original.   A blessing that was written to the governors of the states about their states and their soldiers was changed to be a general prayer about the country.

We even found one reference that claimed the prayer was prayed by George Washington during battle at Valley Forge.


Last updated 12/5/03

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Subject: The Country Should Know This. I wish all the anti church and state folks knew this.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington, DC are two
words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact ... most visitors to
the monument have no idea they are even there and ... for that matter ...
probably could care less!

But there they are ... 555 feet, 5.125 inches high ... perched atop the
monument to the father of our nation. Overlooking the 69 square miles which
comprise the District of Columbia. capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words ... out of sight and,
one might think, out of mind ... but very meaningfully placed at the highest
point over what is the most powerful city in the world.

And what might those two words ... comprised of just four syllables and only
seven letters ... mean? Very simply ... "Praise be to God!"
Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848 when James Polk was
President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was
inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally
cap the memorial with the tribute Laus Deo!

"Praise be to God!"

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure ... a visitor can
take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four
major segments. And from that vantage point one can also easily see the
original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant ... a perfect cross
imposed upon the landscape ... with the White House to the North. the
Jefferson Memorial to the South ... the Capitol to the East ... and the
Lincoln Memorial to the West. A cross ... you say?

How interesting! And ... no doubt ... intended to carry a meaning for those
who bother to notice. "Praise be to God!"

Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the
steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the
12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a
memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation
made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting
Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. "Praise be to God!"

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848
deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by
the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral
direction, the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of
our unique democracy ... "one nation, under God."

I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you never read it?
Well, now is your opportunity ... read on!

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United
States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the
citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government;
and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their
fellow citizens of the United states at large." "And finally that Thou wilt
most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy,
and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of
mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed
religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we
can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech
Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Laus Deo!

As you might have guessed ... I kind of like the idea that our Pledge of
Allegiance includes the phrase "under God." It is clear when one studies the
history of our great nation that Washington's America was one of the few
countries in all the world established under the guidance, direction and
banner of Almighty God, to whom was given all praise, honor and worship by
the great men who formed and fashioned her pivotal foundations. And . when
one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our
nation's capitol ... one will easily find the signature of God.

We are a nation under God!!! Laus Deo!

"Praise be to God!"

author unknown





 


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