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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Elaborate artwork adorns the monumental buildings in the nation's capital, depicting the beauty and grandeur of the neoclassical era that inspired these buildings.
It is within these various forms of art that the principles on which the United States was founded come to life.
Much of this artwork illustrates virtue and features several religious figures, highlighting the influence of religion in the history of the United States.
Father Eugene Hemrick, a priest of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, is a columnist for Catholic News Service and the author of the book "One Nation Under God," which looks at the various religious symbols and images scattered throughout Washington.
To Father Hemrick, the early history of the United States makes it clear that the Founders were dedicated to God and that their faith influenced their decisions for the nation.
"This country was established with a very strong religious background," Father Hemrick said in an interview July 3 with CNS.
According to a book published by the Department of the Interior, the men who signed the Constitution were predominantly members of the Protestant denominations that characterized early America, with only two men, Daniel Carroll and Thomas Fitzsimons, being Catholic.
"So we have their representation that these people were very conscious of religion," said Father Hemrick, who is in residence at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill.