After a century the Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is removing two plaques — one honouring former President George Washington and yet another for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — because the memorials make people “feel unsafe or unwelcome.”
Never mind the fact that both Washington and Lee were frequent parishioners of the Episcopalian church, ” The Republican Conventional reported. Regrettably, the church’s board voted unanimously this week to tear out the plaques, which indicated where the two men frequently sat when they attended services.
Initially, the church was only considering removing Lee’s plaque but later added Washington because of he, too, possessed slaves (in a time when everybody possessed slaves). Here is the church statement:
“Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.” Christ Church lives into this call, feeding the hungry with our Lazarus ministry, welcoming the stranger in our refugee ministry, and inviting all to worship with us. The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome. Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.
Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of, “All are welcome — no exceptions.”
Surely, Washington’s slave possession and Lee’s defence of slavery have been in no manner okay, but that was the time where both leaders dwelt.
The church, which was founded in 1773, stated, “all are welcome,” but it appears some of the country’s most notable leaders are excluded by the “no exceptions” clause.
Washington’s sin — that the darkest sin on America’s album — should not erase the significant role he played in establishing what would become the freest and most prosperous society the world has ever seen.
The presence of both Washington’s and Lee’s plaques on the pews of Christ Church beautifully showcase the arc of human history, demonstrating how the U.S. has increased due to their bold visions and regardless of their own darkest sins.
The plaques will be transferred to a yet-to-be-determined distance “no more than the summer of 2018,” the church stated. They will stay in the construction “until they can be relocated to a location of respectful prominence at the place where they’ll be fully visible to parishioners and tourists alike.”
“And ultimately,” the statement continued, “they will be incorporated into a more comprehensive presentation of our lengthy and many-faceted history.”