The Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday said it will remove stained glass windows honoring Confederate generals, saying they act as “a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation.”
In a statement, cathedral leaders said they have debated for two years whether to remove the windows honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. That debate concluded Tuesday, and the Cathedral Chapter voted to remove them.
“Whatever their origins, we recognize that these windows are more than benign historical markers. For many of God’s children, they are an obstacle to worship in a sacred space; for some, these and other Confederate memorials serve as lampposts along a path that leads back to racial subjugation and oppression,” the Cathedral said in a statement
The statement was signed by the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the Washington National Cathedral; and John Donoghue, chairman of the Cathedral Chapter.
“The recent violence in Charlottesville brought urgency to our discernment process. 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,” they said.
“The continued presence of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our nation cannot be ignored — nor will they be solved simply by removing these windows or other monuments. The racial wounds that we have seen across our nation compel us to renew our commitment to building God’s beloved community.”
The decision comes as other governments, institutions and universities debate whether to remove statues, memorials and other objects honoring key figures in the Confederacy.
The issue was thrust into the spotlight following last month’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ostensibly was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Lee.
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