Washington’s National Cathedral is removing stained glass windows depicting Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, after years of study and debate about what to do with them, Washington Post is reporting.
The push to remove the windows began more than two years ago, following the racially charged church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine worshippers dead at the hands of white supremacist Dylann Roof.
The statement was issued jointly by the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; the Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the Washington National Cathedral; and John Donoghue, who chairs the Cathedral Chapter group.
They said: ‘We promise to listen carefully to all who are willing to share to continue to hold the entire Cathedral community in prayer as we strive always to see each other as beloved children of God’. However, he acknowledged that a minority of board members supported keeping the windows in place, believing that they can (and should) be understood in their historical context. However, in light of recent controversies over Confederate monuments, particularly in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the fate of those monuments, the board that manages the Cathedral made the decision to remove the windows. “We find ourselves compelled by the witness of others, moved by the presence of God in our midst, and convicted that the Holy Spirit is pointing us toward the answer”, the statement read. The continued presence of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our nation can not be ignored – nor will they be solved simply by removing these windows or other monuments.
Previously, cathedral leaders justified these controversial Confederate windows, telling visitors on tours that their presence “underscores the building’s role as a repository of American memory, carrying the very wounds of war within its walls”.
Consider it revisited. Apparently they’ve had enough of “addressing the uncomfortable”, at least in the context of celebrating the Confederacy through their art.
And on Friday, Dean Gail Greenwell at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati called for the removal of a plaque honoring Confederate general Leonidas Polk and a stained glass window of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The National Cathedral is officially private property, not government property, and is the “national cathedral” in name only. They have their “Scientists and Technicians Window” celebrating the space program, which is odd but certainly less so than the Darth Vader gargoyle located on – wait for it – the Dark Side of the cathedral.
Judging by its artistic choices, it’s a cathedral to Americana rather than any particular religion.
The church confirmed windows honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson would be removed.