National Cathedral

National Cathedral to Remove Confederate Flag from Windows

on June 9, 2016

One year after Washington National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall called for the removal of stained glass windows featuring the Confederate flag from the gothic church, cathedral officials have announced an intention to remove the small flags from the windows, but not replace the windows entirely.

A five person Cathedral task force charged with studying the matter released a recommendation on June 2 that the windows not be removed at this time, but to revisit the matter within two years. The Episcopal Cathedral’s leadership body, known as the Chapter, voted to receive the report and to remove the flags.

The windows, which feature depictions of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, were installed in 1953.

“After considering the Task Force report, the Chapter came to a consensus that the Confederate battle flag–whatever its history–has become, for many Americans, an image of hatred and racial supremacy,” wrote Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop and interim Cathedral Dean Marianne Budde. “As such, it represents values in direct opposition to the gospel of Christ and the Cathedral’s mission. Thus the Chapter directed that the two depictions of the Confederate battle flag be immediately removed from the windows; the flags will be replaced by plain glass.”

Budde wrote that Cathedral officials are determining the timeline and cost for the removal, “which will be paid for by private donors.” No further information was given about who the potential donors might be.

The cash-strapped cathedral already is seeking tens of millions of dollars to complete a second phase of needed earthquake repairs. Complete removal and replacement of the windows would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“No final decision on the future of the Lee-Jackson windows will be made until the conclusion of this deliberative process,” Budde explained.

Hall, who stepped down as Cathedral Dean in December, has since returned to All Saints Episcopal Church, a progressive activist parish in Pasadena, California. Budde replaced Hall as interim dean, and will vacate the role as the cathedral’s top official when incoming dean Randolph “Randy” Marshall Hollerith assumes office in August.

Update [9/29/2016]: Religion News Service reports that the two panes of glass containing the confederate battle flag were quietly replaced on August 26, with no public announcement by the Washington National Cathedral. “[a cathedral committee] decided, rather than further exacerbate tensions around the flag in the windows, to just do it and get it done and move on to the next phase,” Cathedral Spokesman Kevin Eckstrom told RNS. “They didn’t want the flags themselves to become a distraction from the larger conversation that they’re having around race, which in the cathedral’s mind is much more important than the windows.”

  1. Comment by Dan on June 9, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I’m sure the generals, if they were still with us, would like these windows moved to a Christian church. Does anyone know if this is a possibility or will the windows be destroyed?

  2. Comment by brookspj on June 9, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    They’d probably also be upset about the whole emancipation and civil rights thing, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!

  3. Comment by Mike Ward on June 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Can’t imagine many churches would have much use for them. They are beautiful antiques and are better suited for church like this one which sees more paying tourists than worshipers.

  4. Comment by Dan on June 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Since Gen. Lee worshiped at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Richmond, VA that would be a good place if it still was a Christian house of worship. I suppose the Confederate Chapel in Richmond or the Museum of the Confederacy would be good alternates.

  5. Comment by Namyriah on June 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

    As a former Richmond resident, I can vouch for St. Paul’s not being a Christian church any more. It’s the familiar Episcopagan combination of gays’n’grays.

  6. Comment by Jeff Walton on June 13, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I’m not convinced St. Paul’s is even going to be around in its current form for another generation. Just since 2005 its weekly attendance has dropped from about 350 down to 220. While there is always the potential for renewal to occur, the Holy Spirit appears to have departed that congregation long ago, and anything left it just sap pushing its way through a dead tree.

  7. Comment by Namyriah on June 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    My neighbors in Richmond were an elderly couple who attended St. Paul’s. They were childless, as were other seniors in the church, so I got an education about the gays’n’grays scenario, older couples “adopting” men who were often estranged from their families. The older couple were nice people, but they assured me they were NOT religious in any real sense, that they attended St. Paul’s for social reasons. Churches as social clubs for people who don’t produce babies don’t have much of a future.

  8. Comment by Jeff Walton on June 14, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Another example of what passes for Christian teaching at St. Paul’s these days:

  9. Comment by Xerxesfire on June 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Unfortunately, the PC bug bit St. Paul’s Episcopal last year and they’re doing the exact same thing with their windows and decorative symbols.

  10. Comment by Namyriah on June 9, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Before the age of PC…
    Edward Douglass White, a former Confederate, became Chief Justice of the US in 1910. Other former Confederates who served on the Supreme Court were Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, Horace Harmon Lurton, and Howell Edmunds Jackson. Lurton was a sergeant major in the Confederate army, also a POW. Our ancestors were willing to move beyond the War and acknowledge that the nation needed healing. Progressives, including those who label themselves “Christians,” are notably lacking in mercy, which will definitely be problematic at the Last Judgment, since the New Testament is rather clear that those without mercy will not receive mercy. Lee and Jackson were featured in the widow of the cathedral because, as even their enemies acknowledged, they were decent Christian men, and even in the North there were a lot more families naming their sons after Lee than after Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. The cathedral staff could have shocked the world by doing the Christian thing and issuing a statement saying that, although many people have negative views of the Confederacy, the window would remain in situ because it honored two men who were revered long after their deaths in all sections of the nation. Instead, the progs who run the Episcopagan religion know that they only get attention when talking about sex or racism, so removing the evil Confederates is another episode of holier-than-thou (which, last time I checked, is soundly condemned in the New Testament). At this point in their irreversible decline, I doubt it even crossed their minds that this episode will not lead to a new wave of black Americans becoming Episcopalians.

  11. Comment by brookspj on June 9, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    It’s strikes me that the continued reverence for the Battle Flag and revisionist attempts to justify its veneration is one of the things keeping the nation from healing.

  12. Comment by Namyriah on June 9, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    If you belong to one of the headed-for-extinction left-wing churches, like the Episcopagans, your peevishness is understandable. They’re so darned “inclusive,” but according the numbers, no one wants to be included. They charge $10 to walk through the Washington Cathedral, so apparently the sodomites who hold their “weddings” there are not very generous donors. Ironic that a church that prides itself on being well-educated and affluent, but they can’t even pay their operating expenses. Apparently there aren’t many people who will roll out of bed on Sunday to hang out with a gaggle of gays and lesbians singing hymns to a God they don’t believe in and hearing readings from a Bible that they despise.

    Then again, once they remove that offensive window from the cathedral, I bet MILLIONS of American will flock to the Episcopagans – let the healing begin!

  13. Comment by brookspj on June 10, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Actually I’m Methodist, but thank you for making a bunch unwarranted assumptions about me and changing the subject to avoid my original point that continued reverence for the battle flag tends to run hand and hand with the Lost Cause revisionist position that still sees itself as fighting the war.

  14. Comment by Namyriah on June 10, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Ah, yes, the thriving United Methodists.

    1960: 11.0 million
    2015: 7.2 million

    You used the term “Lost Cause” – I’d say that describes the religious left pretty well.

  15. Comment by brookspj on June 10, 2016 at 10:23 am

    At least we’re not letting stats and polls cause to sell our souls to Donald Trump. I respect and applaud every conservative religious figure who’s refusing to support that racist, but they’re growing fewer by the day it seems.

  16. Comment by Namyriah on June 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Too funny.

    Your denomination is melting away like a salted slug, and all you can do is talk about Donald Trump?

    You progs live in a fantasy world – when confronted with unpleasant facts, you change the subject. “OK, we’re losers – but, hey, we hate Trump!”

    Enjoy the UM – while it exists.

  17. Comment by Skipper on June 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Point of Order:

    2016: 12 million

    Take it easy there. We have worked hard to get here! The United Methodist Church is losing members in the U.S., but in areas that reject Methodist teaching. Most of the Methodists in the country appreciate Methodist principles and are hanging tough in these difficult times for Christians. Methodists around the world are doing many things, including growth!

    By the way, have you not heard all the Good News from our General Conference? The grassroots Methodists made us proud, even though accountability for sexual misconduct was postponed. There were many major improvements and these distanced the UMC from the “Lost” / False Gospel Mainlines or “salted slug” club as you prefer to call them.

  18. Comment by Philip on June 10, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Funny, I would bet that window in it’s entirety was specifically put there to promote healing and inclusion. But, that time has passed and now we live in a time of historical intolerance because people refuse to think on their own and see things in context. Sound familiar?

  19. Comment by Xerxesfire on June 13, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Namyriah, I always enjoy your wry humor and insightful input and learn much from you, sir. Thank you for that!

  20. Comment by Mike Ward on June 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    What are they going to put in it’s place. What can they put there that won’t look out of place given the rest of the image. This is like that time on Southpark when they replaced the picture of 4 white men lynching a black man on the town flag with a picture of a black man, a white man, a red man, and yellow man lynching a black man.

    Instead of defacing it, they should just replace the whole thing.

  21. Comment by Jeff Walton on June 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Clear glass will replace the two small flags (which will probably look a bit out of place). That being said, the cost will be substantially less than removing and replacing the entire windows.

  22. Comment by Mike Ward on June 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks. Do you know what they will do with the glass they take out?

  23. Comment by Jeff Walton on June 13, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Cathedral officials did not specify what would happen to the flags. I imagine that they will be kept in storage.

  24. Comment by 12213 on November 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Cost is not to be considered. To continue to maintain “white supremacy” is and will be expensive

  25. Comment by 12213 on November 1, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    With a clear window

  26. Comment by Joan Watson on June 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I’m just bumfuzzled at how liberal/progressives think they can erase history. I suppose the day those little flags are gone, racism and any and all prejudices will simply evaporate. It would be more beneficial if the guardians of the National Cathedral would do their job as Christians: meet people where they are, connect them to God so that God can go to work to transform their hearts. In his book, “What’s So Amazing about Grace”, Philip Yancy does an amazing job of comparing what legislation accomplishes compared to the grace of God: at best the first simply changes external actions; grace transforms the heart and how we view each other.

  27. Comment by Xerxesfire on June 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    An excellent book, Joan. I totally agree!

  28. Comment by Skipper on June 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

    The American flag flew over slavery for 90 years. It flew from the slave ships loading in Africa. It flew as the slaves came down the gang-plank in America. The American flag flew in New York City where most of the slave ships were constructed.

    Maybe we shouldn’t focus on any of this too much, but should find something more constructive to do with our time.

  29. Comment by 12213 on November 1, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    If we could stop the American Flag from flying over a lot of places in our world today, a lot of weeping, wailing, moaning would be healed

  30. Comment by Xerxesfire on June 13, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    This is just a continuation of the PC movement. Last year St Paul’s in Richmond (Confederate Church) voted to remove traces of Confederacy from their church. Here is a link to this story:

  31. Comment by Dan on June 14, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Somehow I missed this, perhaps because I no longer subscribe to The Buffet Times/Dispatch, formerly known as The Richmond Times/Dispatch. Well, Episcopagan certainly seems to be the most descriptive term for St. Pauls. Let’s not forget that this church also birthed that most well know of heretics, John Spong, who is a former rector.

  32. Comment by Xerxesfire on June 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for the info. Until I read the church’s website, I didn’t realize Spong was rector there. I was always amazed he was allowed to remain a priest with his heretical and apostate beliefs; but after learning more about TEC, nothing surprises me anymore. I hate to think how many people were misled by this man and went down the wrong road.

  33. Comment by Skipper on June 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

    The danger in banning flags and pretending the holocaust never happened is that they threaten freedom of speech and expression. Already some want to ban marriage as God defined it. We must have some toleration of others if we want to have our own expressions tolerated.

    The Carolina church shooting was planned as a college attack. The college having too much security, so an unarmed church was chosen instead. Millions of Germans went off the death camps after Hitler allowed only the government to have guns.

    How can this same Episcopal group that won’t tolerate a flag from history expect Christians to tolerate their pagan version of marriage? No thanks! God’s version is “a more excellent way!”

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