Because who doesn’t want to be welcoming?
Legendary American historical figures George Washington and Robert E. Lee were once parishioners at Christ Church in Alexandria. Now, however, the plaques memorializing that very fact are to be torn out, because , in the Revisionist United States of America, the historical existence of these two men is apparently so odious that any trace of them should be wiped from the earth.
Scared yet? If not, you should be.
According to The Republican Standard website, here’s what the church vestry had to say about the decision in a letter to today‘s parishioners:
“Hebrews 13:2 says, ‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ 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.’”
The explanation continued:
“We understand that both Washington and Lee lived in times much different than our own and that each man, in addition to his public persona, was a complicated human being, and like all of us, a child of God. Today, the legacy of slavery and of the Confederacy is understood differently than it was in 1870. For some, Lee symbolizes the attempt to overthrow the Union and to preserve slavery. Today our country is trying once again to come to grips with the history of slavery and the subsequent disenfranchisement of people of color.
“Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘All are welcome — no exceptions.’ Because the sanctuary is a worship space, not a museum, there is no appropriate way to inform visitors about the history of the plaques or to provide additional context except for the in-person tours provided by our docents.”
Ridiculously, church officials justify removal of the Washington plaque on the basis that because it sits at an area opposite to where the Lee plaque sits, removing only the Lee plaque would upset the aesthetic visual balance of the church.
Right. Note that they could, of course, simply move the Washington plaque to another spot in the church where it would not upset said aesthetic balance.
But they’re not doing that. They’re removing it completely.
Are you paying attention yet?
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large