By Hilary White 

  WASHINGTON, DC. October 12, 2007 ( – When 17 year-old Andrew Larochelle of Dayton Ohio achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement possible in the scouting world, he wanted to present a flag to his veteran grandfather during the ceremony September 30th. Andrew’s father, Paul Larochelle, had contacted Republican Rep. Michael Turner asking for a flag that had been flown on the Capitol building on September 11, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
  Andrew had asked that the certificate say, “This flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, Country and family.”
  But the Acting Architect of the Capitol, the official responsible for the flags, decided that the word “God” could not appear. The Acting Architect, Stephen T. Ayres, cited a rule that bans the use of religious expressions on flag certificates. The certificate accompanying the flag was sent to the Larochelle family without the offending word.
  The decision prompted outrage from a number of legislators and Turner wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then to President George Bush complaining about the incident. He urged Pelosi to review and reverse the rule. In his letter to Pelosi, Turner urged the Speaker to review and reverse the rule, saying it “puts at risk our religious freedoms and heritage”.
  Turner, the Larochelles’ congressman, gathered the signatures of more than 160 members of Congress for the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and introduced legislation to reverse the policy.
“Our Nation’s Capitol contains many religious references including ‘In God We Trust’ inscribed in both the House and State chambers,” Turner wrote to President Bush. “The architect’s policy is in direct conflict with his charge as well as the scope of his office and brings into question his ability to preserve a building containing many national religious symbols.”
“If permitted, removing ‘God’ from the Capitol flag ceremonies will be the precedent for removing ‘God’ from the Capitol, and this cannot be permitted,” Turner wrote.
  Begun in 1937, the flag program allows people to request one of the many flags raised and lowered over the Capitol every day. The Architect of the Capitol fulfils more than 100,000 flag requests every year.

  On Tuesday pro-abortion, pro-gay, Catholic House Speaker Pelosi defended the Architect’s refusal to allow “God” on the flag certificates. Nevertheless, on Thursday, Ayres announced that the policy was reversed. He said that the policy had been in place since the 1970’s.
“My review revealed that, in fact, these rules have been inconsistently applied and that it is inappropriate and beyond the scope of this Agency’s responsibilities to censor messages from Members,” Ayres said.
  Andrew Larochelle said, “I was completely shocked at the way things played out … faith is very important to our entire family.” Andrew’s grandfather is a devout Roman Catholic. “A lot of what I learned about faith comes from him,” Andrew said. “I never expected such controversy over getting my Eagle Scout rank.”
  Paul Larochelle said before the decision was reversed, “Removing ‘God’ out of that certificate was removing a major piece of what my dad stands for.”