April is...

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Sexual assault and sexual harassment awareness month.

I love chain emails.

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Here's the gem that I got today:

"One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington , D.C. There can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument . With all the uproar about removing the ten commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time. I was not aware of this amazing historical information.

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., are displayed two words: Laus Deo.

No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.

Once you know Laus Deo's history , you will want to share this with everyone you know. These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward 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 most successful nation in the world.

So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, They say "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 a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo. "Praise be to God!"

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. 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 is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound 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, and 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 ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so 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!

When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed
everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of "Laus Deo ", its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127: 1)

It is hoped you will send this to every child you know; to every sister, brother, father, mother or friend. They will not find offense, because you have given them a lesson in history that they probably never learned in school. With that, be not ashamed, or afraid, but have pity on those who will never see this because someone failed to send it on? "Laus Deo" "

This was my response after some light research.
"Actually, the Constitution does contain the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Here in the US, it is not only the wording of the law but also the historical application of law that leads to the modern interpretation of it (i.e. precedent). An example is article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan
nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Naturally, the history of this law comes from the founding of the American colonies in order to escape institutionalized religion. Whether or not the Founding Fathers were actually Christian is irrelevant because they sought to create a secular country that won't disenfranchise the minority (they were technically Deists). James Madison wrote: "We are teaching the world the great truth that Governments do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Government." Allowing for the 10 commandments to be displayed in government buildings would, in fact, be respecting an establishment of religion. It is not protected under the free speech clause because it is not inhibiting an individual's right to practice their religion in their own life.

The Washington Monument was built a century after George Washington's death and was organized by a group of private citizens called the Washington National Monument Society. So the government never actually had anything to do with the construction, let alone the inscriptions. And it's ironic that the creator of this chain e-mail used a quote of Thomas Jefferson's criticizing an institutional religion in support of an argument for using tax dollars to instill Christian monuments in government buildings.

The prayer was not written by Washington himself, but rather by his aide de camp, David Cobb, as the conclusion of a private letter to a governor. And here it has been considerably altered from it's original version of: "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. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. George Washington"
The design of a cross turned out to be incidental rather than premeditated since the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials were built in 1911 and 1934, respectively, long after Charles l'Enfant submitted his original design. In addition to the Bible, there is a myriad of assorted items donated to the monument, such as coins, charts, seals, census surveys, Army registers, maps, poetry, etc."

Apartheid, it's not just for South Africa, anymore!

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To avoid Constance McMillen bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was
sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location
at an event organized by parents.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a
parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a
Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five
other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but
clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

"They had two proms and I
was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had
seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to."
The handicapped and homosexual teens were sent to a fake prom after the ACLU ruled that they could not prevent her and her date from attending.

Happy Easter!

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