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Va. Rep. wants annual religion week

Jan. 14, 2008 at 1:53 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has introduced a House resolution to establish "American Religious History Week."

The congressman said the annual week would be an important counter to what he sees as efforts to remove all religious reference from political discourse, The Newport News (Va.) Daily-Press reported Sunday.

Forbes, a conservative Baptist, said he was particularly alarmed by recent incidents on Capitol Hill, including the discovery that the model of the top of Washington Monument, displayed inside, was pushed against a wall to conceal the inscription "Praise be to God" in Latin. He also cited a dispute over religious references in the soon-to-open Capitol Visitors Center.

"We think it's an extreme position to say you can't ever mention God," Forbes told the newspaper.

Critics of the resolution, including the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately mobilized against it.

"It's as if he thinks his duty is that of a minister or missionary," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "He promotes the idea of government having a religious function on a pretty regular basis."

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