Latest assault on history: Church removes stained glass depicting Confederate figures

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The Cathedral Chapter voted Tuesday to immediately remove stained-glass windows at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. As a result, the two windows depicting Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were set to be taken down Wednesday.

Scaffolding has already been erected and the process begun, according to The Washington Post.

The governing body of the cathedral began debating the windows’ removal after the 2015 shooting by Dylann Roof at a black church in Charleston, S.C.

The windows portraying Lee and Jackson were installed in 1953.

In a letter put out Wednesday, the cathedral stated, “The Chapter believes that these windows are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation.” The letter was signed by the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, who serves as dean of the National Cathedral; and the chair of the Cathedral Chapter, John Donoghue.

It was also added: “Their association with racial oppression, human subjugation, and white supremacy does not belong in the sacred fabric of this Cathedral.”

In the letter, Budde, Hollerith, and Donoghue said the windows of Lee and Jackson were “an obstacle to worship in a sacred space.”  They referred to them as “lamp posts along a path that leads back to racial subjugation and oppression.”

It is believed by the governing body that the stained-glass windows provided an “incomplete and misleading” account of the country’s history. It was argued that this isn’t an attempt to erase history, but rather to address the fact that the windows do not reflect the Washington National Cathedral’s values.

The windows will be deconstructed, removed, and stored until a suitable place for their safe keeping is found. The resulting window openings will be covered until the windows are replaced.

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