Lawmakers voted Thursday to engrave the words "In God We Trust" at the Capitol Visitor Center, ending a year-long battle to restore references of God at the Capitol.
The center's initial design was stripped of all references to America's religious heritage, which troubled Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes. He led the charge to get the national motto added to the building and Congress overwhelmingly approved.
"It had been such political correctness in there when it came to issues of faith that faith and the history of faith in this country were not represented at all," he said.
Forbes led the charge to get the national motto added to the visitor's center and Congress overwhelmingly approved. An atheist group initially filed a lawsuit to keep the religious statement away.
Had the suit succeeded, Forbes warned it could open the door for the Declaration of Independence to be deemed unconstitutional because the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are attributed to the "creator."
"This group wants us to say that was a lie," he said. "If that was a lie then the rights also were a lie because those rights came from the creator. If you take away the creator then you have to ask this question, 'Where do the rights come from?' If they came from government then government can give them to you and government can take them away."
Newt Gingrich's spokesman Rick Tyler said the visitor center did not "rightfully honor the centrality of God to our American history."
"It's a little like visiting the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and not finding Elvis," Tyler added.
Forbes and the Congressional Prayer Caucus argued that "E pluribus unum" was misrepresented as the nation's motto in the original architecture of the center.
"In 1956 under the Eisenhower administration they passed 'In God We Trust' as the national motto," Tyler explained. "That is our national motto and it's not up to the architect and their committee to change it."
It was also pointed out that the table President Lincoln used to hold his Bible during his second inauguration had no Bible.
"They could have just taken that opportunity to put the Bible on the table, and they just decided to miss the opportunity," Tyler added.
"In God We Trust" is now engraved above a massive model of the statue of freedom near the center's entrance.
The "In God We Trust" engraving was completed and unveiled this week. The Pledge of Allegiance is scheduled to be completed later this month.