The Washington National Cathedral, a central landmark in the U.S. capital, has announced its decision to remove two stained glass windows honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
The two 4-by-6-foot 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,” church leaders wrote in a statement published Wednesday on the cathedral’s website. “Their association with racial oppression, human subjugation and white supremacy does not belong in the sacred fabric of this Cathedral.”
The statement, signed by Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, the cathedral’s dean, and John Donoghue, chair of the board of directors, said the decision came after two years of discussion and deliberation. The cathedral’s board voted it into effect on Tuesday.
“There are a lot of people who have felt alienated from the cathedral because of these windows,” Kevin Eckstrom, the cathedral’s chief communications officer, told HuffPost on Wednesday. “We don’t want anybody to have to check their identity or their history or their beliefs at the door when they come here.”
As a central hub for the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, the cathedral has hosted many prominent events over the years, including presidential funerals and inaugural events, most recently for President Donald Trump.
The Confederate-themed windows date back to 1953, when they were installed as a gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They depict scenes from the two generals’ lives, as well as a representation of the Confederate battle flag.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
We’re not just talking about windows here. We’re talking about racial justice and the legacy of slavery and the role of the church in that. Kevin Eckstrom, Washington National Cathedral
Former cathedral dean Gary Hall had previously called for the windows’ removal in 2015, after a white supremacist known to admire Confederate symbols and history killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.
“In 2015, we know that celebrating the lives of these two men, and the flag under which they fought, promotes neither healing nor reconciliation, especially for our African-American sisters and brothers,” Hall Read the full article from the Source…