Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina
GLENN: Now if I could just get some Republicans that actually understood the Constitution and knew what was going on, I'd be grateful. The other thing is that as everybody is talking about politics an everything else, I think we need to stand back from the picture and see what's really going on and I've been telling you for a while things are bad. And as things get bad, what is the only thing you can depend on? You have to know, what is it you can depend on? I believe you can depend on your family and you can depend on your God. But we have chased got out of our life. We have replaced God with our dollar, quite honestly with our flag. Our flag stands now for I think ideology, really our system of government and our system of government doesn't even know what it's based on anymore. It was based on God, man's rights coming from God and going to the individual and the individual loans certain parts of those rights, loans them to the government, and the government's job is to protect them and to help us be able to clear the path to keep justice alive so bad guys get prosecuted, so good guys can win. But we have so chased God out and I just, I don't know about you. I'm sure so many within the sound of my voice pray for God to stay his hand for a while. Please, God, I feel like, you know, I feel like just saying, please, there's one person, I know there's one person out there and there's tons. There's millions of good people and hopefully we're all praying that things will just slow down just a little bit until more people wake up. Well, at the same time that's going on, to show you how out of touch our leaders are in Washington, I'm going to bring in Senator Jim DeMint. He is a Republican from South Carolina.
Senator DeMint, they opened yesterday this big capital project which is, what was it, $400 million over budget?
SENATOR DeMINT: More like $680 million, I think, $680 million, about four years behind schedule. But it's a beautiful place.
GLENN: Oh, I'm sure it is.
SENATOR DeMINT: Would be very proud of the way it looks. But obviously I'm concerned about the, I guess the faith aspect of it. I really appreciated what you were saying while I was waiting to come on the air is that our country is not our government. The important things really come from God, our families and that's how we're going to rebuild this country. But it has been discouraging to me to see just in bits and pieces that the bureaucrats and a lot of the politicians trying to secularize our history, change our history and sometimes I feel like I don't have enough fingers to stick in the dike and when the capital visitors center, when I did my tour of that several months back and realized that they had left out some important references, historically accurate aspects of our faith history were left out.
GLENN: Like, give me an example.
SENATOR DeMINT: Well, I think the most obvious and blatant -- keep in mind this is no accident. I think that would be everyone's first thought, "Well, they just --
GLENN: No, it's not.
SENATOR DeMINT: These are some of the best historians and the most meticulous people that I've run into, and they are good people but they just don't believe as you and I do and a think in a lot of ways leaving out religious references will keep them from being criticized more than if they put it in.
SENATOR DeMINT: There's a beautiful display of the speaker's chair in the House -- a replica of the House of Representatives there in the visitors center with the speaker's chair and the flags on both sides and it looks very good but it was so obvious that in the House above the speaker's chair, you know, carved in marble is "In God we trust," and here was this beautiful replica done in a lot of detail that they would bring the kids in and all the tour groups but it had everything except "In God We Trust" on it. And even the photos of the actual speaker's chair were cropped where "In God We Trust" didn't show. And you think maybe they just missed it or something, but they didn't. It was intentional. You know, we made a fuss about it. I got a few folks from the House to help me and they said they would fix it, and I assume it's fixed but I don't know. But we also ran into here carved in marble in one of the columns there was, it said "Our national motto, E Pluribus Unum." The only problem with that is our national motto is "In God we trust." It was passed by congress, it's legally our motto. These people knew it was our motto. And we said, you have to change that; that's not true. And they said, oh, it's going to cost $150,000 to replace the column. So they kind of puttied over it or whatever for the opening because I held back the funding bill that would allow them to open it until they agreed to fix some of the most blatant things. But there are just so many references and so many aspects of our history, Glenn, that are dependent. We're built around faith. In fact, the more I study, the more I realize that freedom itself was spawned more by the reformation than anything else. That's when faith moved from being a religious hierarchy to being a personal individual thing and I think if you follow history from there, that's where you see freedom explode. But it's just disappointing in something that's that magnificent -- and I think it is -- leaves out so much that's important about our history.
GLENN: You know, in the Smithsonian there is the giant statue that was carved I believe for the rotunda of the Capitol at one point of George Washington where he's in a toga and he looks God-like, he looks Caesar-like and it was made a long, long time ago. I believe it's still in the Smithsonian and it was never allowed to sit in the rotunda. It sat in the basement of the Capitol for a very long time because it was offensive to so many because it made George Washington look like a God. And yet we have now in the visitors center that has just opened up in a large engraving it says "We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common Oracle but the Constitution." Well, fist of all, I don't believe the Constitution is being consulted by at least one, maybe two branches, maybe three branches of government. But it's so offensive to me that our Capitol, it is becoming a temple. Our government and our leaders are positioning themselves. We could see wit Obama and we can see it quite honestly, when you take God out, who is giving law? The law's got to be coming from lawmakers, from the Supreme Court or the capital. This is -- and Senator DeMint, I assume -- I'm sorry, I don't know this and it doesn't really matter. I don't usually, you know, card people on this but I assume that you're a real God-fearing man. Does it at all ever frighten you that -- I mean, it's, we are getting to the point to where we're not just disengaging from God. It is like we are slapping him across the face.
SENATOR DeMINT: Well, it's really the radicalization of this idea of separation of church and state where I think our founders did want a government that made decisions that were not based on promoting any religion, in effect a secular government. But we have taken that to extremes where the government is now purging religion and faith from our entire society, whether it's a high school football game. I mean, you follow it all the way through. The secularization of America is out of control and the problem with that is right on the heels of secularization comes socialism, and you can follow that through history, something I've been working on a lot during the holidays here is just tracking the history of freedom and what we have to do to save it, and it's so obvious that secularization expands across the country -- and we've seen it in Europe -- it follows, socialism follows and the loss of a lot of our freedoms. Our freedom is built on faith in God and when we lose that sense of history, we lose a whole lot more than just a little bit of history. We lose what we are as a people and so a lot of us have chosen to fight this, and we really can't fight it very well inside of congress because the Democrats now have a majority and it's hard to get something like this through, and the only way we were able to get this changed is go to people like you on the outside who have a microphone and get the people themselves engaged, and we've gotten these few things changed. And they said that they would include in their rotation of exhibits more about our religious history, but they're not going to do that unless we force them to.
GLENN: Senator, we have about 45% of the American high school seniors at a minimum level of U.S. history, 47% at a minimum level. Only 14% perform at a at or above the proficient level of history, 14%. Thomas Jefferson said the boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver over to them. I don't think, Senator, anymore -- and talk me out of this. I don't think that our liberties are going to be protected through the government, I don't think there's enough people in the government and there's enough people quite honestly in the general population that are just relying on the school systems to teach. I think the individuals have to teach their children and have to take it upon themselves to really make sure that our history is passed on before we lose it. If you've only got 14% of this coming generation that is really understanding American history, what is it going to be the following generation?
SENATOR DeMINT: Well, and we have to remember that very few colleges now even require a course in American history. So those who get through high school and go on to college are still unlikely to learn about our history itself, and we need to remember that our founders pushed education for the primary reason that everyone could read a Bible for themselves. Folks don't like to hear that today but that's why Princeton and Yale and Harvard, all of these colleges, Ivy League colleges were formed to train pastors.
GLENN: Yeah, they were all religious schools, all of them religious schools.
SENATOR DeMINT: If you look at their mission statements, it's pretty amazing. But I think the good news is this, Glenn: We don't have to have even a majority of Americans who share that sense of faith and personal responsibility and personal accountability. We just need those who know better to rise up, to be active, to speak out. And that's the problem is people are whispering. They have been so cowed by this idea of, well, nothing about my faith belongs in the public square anymore. This separation of church and state has kind of beat us all down, when in fact that's not true. Our views, our values should be taken to the public debate and we should not allow politicians to exclude good policies and principles because they might have some religious connection. That's what's happening and that's why our government has moved towards really promoting things that are destructive rather than vice versa. But it doesn't take a majority. It just takes a small group of salt and light to change things and that's my source of optimism is that I think it was not a majority of people who actually made America what it was. It was some real leaders and champions, people with strong faith. And that's still what happens today at the community level because America's still working. I mean, I'm frustrated what's going on in Washington, but as I go around the community, there's still those large pockets of people with traditional families who are working hard and so that source of strength is still here. We just have to call on it and get those people more engaged on what we're doing as a country.
GLENN: I'm going to play a little bit of something that Harry Reid said yesterday and get your reaction from it. Well, let me play it. This is Harry Reid yesterday at the opening of the new capital center. Here it is.
REID: My staff has always said don't say this, but I'm going to say it again because it's so descriptive because it's true: Leader Bingham mentioned that tourists lined up in summer and winter, long lines coming into the Capitol. In the summertime because the high humidity and how hot it gets here, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. (Laughter). And that may be descriptive but it's true. Well, that is no longer going to be necessary.
GLENN: Okay. So now, now, Senator, you no longer have to smell the riffraff as they come through the Capitol building. I don't know if he's ever ridden a subway like I have in New York City but it's rather pungent almost year round in the subway system of New York or on the bus system anywhere in the country. You can smell the people around you. You know, I don't think that he necessarily meant that as an elitist, but this is the kind of stuff that I think people hear and say you elitist snob, you don't have to smell the people anymore?
SENATOR DeMINT: Well, first of all, they are not tourists, they are stockholders. And I remind everyone who comes to the Capitol that they are not touring. This is their capitol, it's their country and it's really up to them what happens to us in the future. But I think the smell, the subway or people coming, it's the smell of freedom. It's real people and I think when we start thinking the opposite, that's not a good thing. So --
GLENN: Senator, is there anything people can do quickly here? Do you need people to help you on anything on this project, or is it all too late? Have they already spent the --
SENATOR DeMINT: No, it's not. A lot of the displays are temporary, they're moving. They move different displays in from around the country and I think, first of all, we've got to make sure they follow through and just put the basics of our national motto "In God we trust," and there's some history, education, things that they just need to make history right. But everyone could e-mail or write or call a congressman or senator. And I think if everyone there sitting in the Capitol, members of the House and Senate know that people back home are aware of this that it will help us change things up there. That's what we're looking for is just some leverage because if folks up there think that folks back home don't know about this or don't care about it, then they are just going to ignore us.
GLENN: Senator, I know we've talked about this before. I'm getting a signal here we've got to cut off.
SENATOR DeMINT: Okay.
GLENN: I will tell you this, we've talked about it before, and I feel the clock ticking on this situation. I think we're sitting on a powder keg, Senator, and it scares me. I think there are people who are being so disenfranchised every single day that goes by and, gosh, Washington needs to wake up and turn. Instead of saying "I smell these people and I don't have to smell them anymore," they need to start listening to the people and start reconnecting with the values that the average American has.
SENATOR DeMINT: You are exactly right, and we need to encourage people to pray for our country because we are headed into a very, very difficult time and we're going to have to appeal to our core values.
GLENN: Our better selves, yes, and a higher power. Senator, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SENATOR DeMINT: Thanks, Glenn, bye-bye.
GLENN: Senator DeMint from South Carolina.