WASHINGTON -- Capitol Hill visitors got an eyeful and an ear-full as lawmakers put legislation to the side to lift their hands, openly praising God in the hallowed halls of the Capitol building.
For the second year in a row, Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing September as Gospel Music Heritage Month.
It gives supporters a chance to celebrate both a holy God and the long-standing contributions of gospel music to the country's musical heritage.
Lawmakers like Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, say the diverse influences of gospel music has deep roots in the nation.
Other supporters like Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., says she grew up on gospel music.
Lincoln reminisced about the impact of this music on her youth. She adds the country should acknowledge this message of faith and hope.
"It's a wonderful part of who I became," she said.
Charles Humbard, owner of the Gospel Music Channel, says he agrees.
The son of pioneering televangelist Rex Humbard thinks American families need hope in their homes, and his gospel channel offers just that.
Organizers of the month-long celebration say Gospel Music Heritage Month is catching on around the nation. They encourage believers to get involved and hope to make the Capitol ceremony an annual event.
*Originally published September 17, 2009