God removed from Capitol Flag Certificates-Truth!
Religious References Removed from Flag Certificates at the National's Capitol-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:The eRumor says that the man occupying the office of the Architect of the Capitol has ordered that certificates of authenticity that accompany ceremonial flags flown over the capitol not include any religious terminology even if the persons requesting the certificate ask for it.
The Truth:One of the common practices in Washington is requesting a flag that has flown over the capitol to be presented to a citizen on some special occasion. It has been estimated that about 100,000 of them are requested and granted each year.
Along with the flag is a certificate that authenticates that the flag really did fly over the capitol. The certificate also includes the name of the person receiving the flag, the occasion on which it was presented, and a brief comment submitted by the person who made the request.
This forwarded email, which was sent by the American Family Association (AFA), says that the certificates of authenticity cannot include any religious language or references to God.
An article in the Washington Post from October 6, 2007 goes into more detail about the issue.
Both the AFA and the Washington post tell stories about intended presentations of flags to war veterans but whose certificates did not include references to God, which had been submitted with the requests for the flags.
The AFA release puts the blame on the Architect of the Capitol, Steven Ayers. According to the Post, Ayer's office told Rep. Michael R. Turner of Ohio that the rules say that religious expressions are not permitted on flag certificates.
Republicans have complained to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the rule should not be construed as meaning that the word "God" cannot be used.
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
According to U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave, our nation’s legislators are now prohibited from using references to God in certificates of authenticity accompanying flags flown over the Capitol and bought by constituents. Such references include: “under God” in the pledge, “God bless you,” or “in the year of our Lord, 2007.” Never before has this official prohibition been leveled.
Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers said he has removed the words because reference to God and the Lord may offend some Americans. He now prohibits them from being placed on official documents such as flag certificates.
Musgrave was astonished when she flew a flag over the U.S. Capitol building as a tribute to a senior citizen, and the accompanying certificate she received was edited with all religious references removed.
The congresswoman was more astounded when, upon further investigation, she discovered the certificate was censored by order of The Architect of the Capitol, an unelected very low-level official who manages the flag office.
Responding to a request for a flag flown over the United States Capitol in honor of a World War II veteran’s 81st birthday, the congresswoman ordered the flag and a certificate to state: “This flag was flown for Mr. John Doe on the occasion of his 81st birthday, the eleventh day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2007. Thank you, Grandpa, for showing me what it is to be a true patriot — to love God, family, and country. We love you!”
When the flag and certificate came back from the flag office, each reference to the Lord and God were removed. A group of lawmakers confronted architect Stephen Ayers seeking to find where he had the authority to restrict their freedom of speech and religious expression. Ayers refused to give the lawmakers a clear justification of his authority to delete the religious references. For more information: Capitol flag policy assailed (Washington Times).
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