Friday, July 10, 2009

Steve King: I Opposed "Yet Another Bill" To Commemorate Slavery, In Order To Protect Judeo-Christian Heritage


On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was the only House member to vote against a measure to erect a plaque in the Capitol Visitors Center that would acknowledge the role that slave labor had in constructing the building. After his opposition caused a flurry of criticism, King claimed that his vote was in defense of the nation's "Judeo-Christian heritage." He also said in a statement that he opposed the slave labor resolution because it was put up for a vote before a resolution for the depiction of "In God We Trust" in the Visitor Center. Yesterday, however, King changed his justification in a radio interview in Iowa. He said that he voted against the bill because the slave labor resolution wasn't a "balanced depiction of history." He added, "[O]f the 645,000 Africans that were brought here to be forcibly put into slavery in the United States, there were over 600,000 people that gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery. And I don't see the monument to that in the Congressional Visitor Center, and I think it's important that we have a balanced depiction of history." In fact, there are multiple Civil War monuments around the Capitol. Right outside the Capitol is the Ulysses S. Grant memorial, a monument that commemorates the former general of the Union Army. That statue is flanked on either side by monuments to the Union's Artillery and Cavalry groups. Grant's statue faces west towards the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the President who led the effort to free the slaves. Additionally, in the Congressional Cemetery lies the Arsenal Monument, a memorial in honor of women who died while performing services for the Union Army. And there's also an African American Civil War Memorial that honors the contributions that African-American troops made to the war effort.

By Eric Kleefeld - July 8, 2009, 4:20PM