Monday, September 05, 2011

The Bible and the Peace Tower

This is from Tim Bloedow at Christian Governance. Very interesting!

The Bible and the Peace Tower
ChristianGo cropped
... The Christian engravings on the Parliament Buildings and the Peace Tower, however, must be attributed to the chief architect, John A. Pearson. After the engravings on the outside of the Peace Tower were unveiled, there was some discussion in Parliament about removing them, but the providence of God trumped the will of non-Christian men. Following is a relevant transcript on this matter from the May 27th, 1921 House of Commons Hansard, the official transcript of debates in the Lower House of our Canadian Parliament (for the 5th Session of the 13th Parliament, 1921, p. 3997):

Mr. McCURDY: ... In answer to a question asked by the hon. member for Middlesex West (Mr. Ross) and the hon. member for Halifax, the words which are being inscribed on the tower, some of which are now visible, are as follows. Facing Wellington street:

    Give the King thy judgement, O God, and thy righteousness unto the King's son.

That is taken from psalm 72 as, no doubt, my hon. friend will recognize. On one side there will appear these words:

    Where there is no vision, the people perish.

On the other side:

    He shall have Dominion from sea to sea.

Also from psalm 72.

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax): Is that approved by the Parliamentary Commmittee?

Mr. McCURDY: That detail was not approved by the Parliamentary Committee.

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax): While one is diffident about expressing an opinion in regard to a matter of this kind offhand, it strikes me as being an absurdity; I do not think it will add anything to the beauty of the tower and it is altogether inappropriate.

Then, on June 4th, the matter was picked up again in Parliament (pp. 4543-4):

Hon. CHARLES MARCH (Bonaventure): I desire to ask the Prime Minister if he does not think that one of the three inscriptions on the tower of this building should be in French, seeing that French is one of the official languages of this country?

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister): ...

Mr. SPEAKER: I am informed that the Building Committee have ordered these inscriptions be removed.

Mr. LAPOINTE: That would be the best thing to do.

Two weeks later, the inscriptions were discussed at a June 16th meeting of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction of the Parliament Buildings. The Minutes of that meeting include the following note:

"The question of the inscription on the Main Tower was brought up and reference was made to the statements of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister and the Honourable Speaker of the House of Commons on June 4th, the day of Prorogation.

"As the inscription has been completed, the Committee decided that it would not be justified in taking any action in regard to its removal at the present time."

A few months later, on October 4, Parliament was dissolved, and the new Parliament apparently did not take up the matter again. Nor was a fresh committee organized to continue the work of the Reconstruction of the Parliament Buildings committee.

As you can see, the inscriptions on the Peace Tower did not originate from the will of our politicians. On the contrary, they were prepared to see them removed. But God used the vision of an architect and the inertia of civil government in His Providence to ensure that these Bible passages would be inscribed in such a visible public place, at our seat of national government. What we do have is the finger of God - the Word of God - carved into the architecture of the buildings which symbolize our national government, notwithstanding the political fancy of the day, and regardless of the particular convictions of the governments and political leaders who come and go.