The Prayer Room In The United States Capitol

The Laymen's Movement's publication, Christian Laymen, May-June 1955, contained an article on the Prayer Room in the United States Capitol, which provided the information that Congressman Brooks Hays of Arkansas had attended a Laymen's Movement conference in 1952. He told the conference that he intended to introduce a resolution in Congress calling for the establishment of a prayer room in the Capitol. The Movement threw its weight behind the resolution and sent a mailing on the subject to 7500 of its Prayer Call supporters. An estimated 2500 letters to Congress resulted from this mailing. This pressure had its e0ect; opposition to the project was overcome in Congress. Weyman C. Huckabee, Secretary of the Movement, and Brooks Hays, were the first persons to use the facilities of the Prayer Room when it was opened in March 1955.

Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma introduced a companion resolution (Conc. Res. 14) to that offered by Congressman Hays (Conc. Res. 60), calling for the setting apart of a place for a prayer room (see The Prayer Room in the United States Capitol. House Document 234, 84th Congress, 1st Session). The Room is located on the House Side of the Capitol near the Rotunda. Delos H. Smith and Joseph W. Burcham, Architects of Washington, D.C., served as architectural consultants. "It was a first essential to make sure that no part of the furnishings and no symbol used would give offense to members of any church.'' To make certain that this did not occur an advisory panel was constituted, the members of which were the chaplains of the House and Senate, the Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Minister of the Washington Hebrew Congregation. "The furnishings, the window, and the symbols have met with the unanimous approval of the four."

According to the Brooklyn Tablet, April 2, 1955, "a scroll was eliminated from the original window design on the ground that it might have been regarded as a symbol" of a particular faith. The advisory group felt that "the decor should have a wholly non-denominational character." In spite of this advice, the two candelabra were placed on either side of the altar, even though they are traditionally associated with a specific faith.

The lighting in this meditation room is subdued. A concealed ceiling light focuses on [he white oak altar, as in the U.N.'s room. There are ten chairs facing the altar, as in the U.N.'s room. "When illumined by the indirect lights of the shielded wall brackets, the room is a soft color symphony of blue and gold."

The stained glass window is cluttered and uninspiring. It was presented anonymously to the Prayer Room by the craftsmen in a studio in the Twenty-first Congressional District of California. Its central figure is that of the kneeling George Washington. In the medallion immediately surrounding the central figure, woven into the ruby glass, is the text from Psalm 16:1. Extending out from behind the figure are the four arms of one of the ancient forms of the Mystic Tau Cross: the X (see Part I).

The most striking feature of the entire window with its clutter of shapes and designs is the depiction of the reverse side of the Great Seal at the top of the medaliion above the phrase from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, "This Nation Under God." The obverse side of the Great Seal, with its Solomonic Crest, is at the bottom of the window.

The appearance of these occult symbols in such a religious setting, in the very heart of the Capitol, cannot be ascribed to chance. The direct participation of the Laymen's Movement in the establishment of the room provides a guarantee that the placement of the two sides of the Great Seal in the window was made with foreknowledge of their real meaning.

This window is described as "symbolizing our Nation at prayer" (H. Doc. 234, p. 31. It "speaks of that religious faith which has always been a part of the greatness of our Nation." The kneeling figure of Washington is placed there to remind us "of the words from his First Inaugural:

... it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe .. ."

The two lower corners of the window each show the Holy Scriptures, an open book and a candle, signifying the light from God's law, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Why was this particular quotation chosen? The terms "Word" and "light" have especially significant meanings in the occult lexicon. In the ancient mysteries of Egypt the Word "is said to have been the Tetragrammaton." (See source 9, Part I, p. 889.) "The connection of material light with... mental illumination was prominently exhibited in all the ancient systems of religion and esoteric mysteries. Among the Egyptians .. . the symbol of moral illumination . . . was also the symbol of Osiris." [Ibid., pp. 469-470.) These root-symbols are met with over and over again in all of the temples and designs used by the devotees of the "new" pagan cult.

[Persons involved in the establishment and decoration of the Prayer Room, in addition to those already named, were: the Senate Chaplain, Rev. Frederick Brown Harris; the House Chaplain, Rev. Bernard Braskamp; the Asst. Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington. Father Edward J. Herrmann ; the Minister of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, Rabbi Norman Gerstenfeld; Representative Edgar W. Hiestand, who arranged for the gift of the mosaic window: Representatives Karl M. LeCompte of Iowa and Katharine St. George of New York, members of a committee which allegedly arranged for the design and equipment of the room; and the Architect of the Capitol, J. George Stewart. Representatives Hiestand and LeCompte are no longer in Congress.]

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