Harsh Lesson in American Politics

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Larochelle, an Eagle Scout from Ohio, had the best of intentions: Have an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and dedicate it to his grandfather. Yet in the process he learned a tough lesson in Washington politics.

Every year, thousands of Americans request that a flag be flown atop the Capitol in honor of someone. (I had this done for my father a decade ago and was proud to give him a gift that couldn't be bought.) I imagine the Eagle Scout shared my sentiment.

With each flag comes a certificate stating that the flag was raised over the Capitol, sometimes a personalized message is inscribed. The scout requested that his certificate include a simple message: "In honor of my grandfather Marcel Larochelle and his dedication and love of God, country and family."

What a thoughtful young man and what a harmless request.

Yet bureaucrats on Capitol Hill felt that this Eagle Scout's requested message was too political. That's right, political.

Because of that, the Architect of the Capitol deleted the word, "God" from the certificate. It sounds like the bureaucrat is the one who is being political.

Now it's Stephen Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol and Nancy Pelosi versus the Eagle Scout from the Midwest. So far the bureaucrats are winning.

Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi sided with Ayers and told reporters that a policy against personalized messages was adopted because, "People were asking for statements that were not only religious, beyond using the word God, but political as well."

Okay, well I can see that government officials wouldn't want to deliver an offensive message on the certificate that accompanies the flag. But to find "God" objectionable, well, that's just offensive and a waste of government employees' time.

Despite widespread criticism and a chorus of angry elected officials, Pelosi said it's not likely that the policy will change.

Republican Congressman Michael Turner, who counts the Eagle Scout and his family as constituents, disagrees. He told our Griff Jenkins that he has strong support for a measure that will repeal Pelosi's policy.

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