NPR: National Cathedral Will Remove Confederate Flags From Stained Glass Windows

Story here.

This is pretty weird if you ask me. It reminds me of how self-appointed busybodies are removing images of cigars and cigarettes from historical photos. (I have a novelty playing card of Sigmund Freud on my refrigerator and sure enough, just noticed he is holding a bit of air where the photo from which the image is based shows a big fat cigar. Heavens forfend - people used to smoke cigars, we mustn’t let the children see or know about this!)

The article makes me wonder, why do we even have a national cathedral anyway since we have no official religion? Isn’t it a contradiction in terms?

Doesn’t the US supposedly have a Christian heritage as many conservatives claim? Why not have a Cathedral for the various Christian denominations?

I have no problems with the windows. But those windows should in no way endorse “the lost cause of Confederacy” nonsense.

Why are people against this, if they support measures such as banning communist symbols in Ukraine?

Among some old sheet music I inherited, there is a WWI-era piece in which two aging Civil War soldiers, one Confederate and one Union, meet and shake hands in support of America’s united fight against a common enemy abroad.

There is also a piece in which Irish recruits are encouraged to “fight for France and Belgium” with the promise that “we’ll deal with England later”. Again, the thought was to neutralize anti-British feelings among Irish recruits who would be fighting side-by-side with Brits in the trenches.

Both things were designed to unify. The piece with the Civil War soldiers was part of a fairly common genre until fairly recently. Deference was given, not to slavery or segregation, but to the union of the two peoples in common purpose, and to the sacrifices and gallantry exhibited by both parts of the country. It was a “compact” of sorts, designed to dampen regional antipathies.

And I would not particularly doubt these stained glass images were of that sort. Their purpose was to unify by signifying there was no longer to be antagonism based on region.

But that 'compact" has been unilaterally abrogated by the American left, and now nothing Confederate can be tolerated. Replacing those segments with clear glass is silly. What are future generations to think of a clear glass flag? Are they to know that they once had Confederate flags, which were once honored in the limited fashion once intended as healing, but that the flags were removed in order to now dishonor the “compact” and drive home the “we won, so you are nothing” theme?

I guess we’ll be seeing more of this, and we need to realize there’s no limit to it. They can’t have Robert E. Lee honored by even having his image there, nor that of any Confederate, and certainly not any praise for him.

It’s a sort of latter-day “March to the Sea” in which the cultural earth must be thoroughly scorched. Nobody will care, of course, except most southern people, on whom the message will not be lost.

It’s an Episcopal church and they can do what they want with their property, of course. I have always thought it odd that it’s called the “National Cathedral” when it’s nothing of the sort. But that, too, is undoubtedly a historic leftover from a day when the Episcopal church was the church of all elites who therefore had some claim, dubious as it was, to some kind of unique national prominence.

People still smoke cigars.

It doesn’t endorse the cause of the Confederacy; it’s about Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, who were both solid Christian men of high character. I despise the ideological cleansing of history that seeks to oversimplify and place complex people and events into “good” and “bad” boxes, always driven by current political biases. It’s ridiculous to argue, as someone in the article did, that removal of the flag will encourage conversation. It will stifle and control it. It will become a lecture, not a conversation. It always does.

I don’t know what comprises a man of high character, but I could they are more deserving of reverence than Field Marshal von Manstein whose legacy has benefited from the “Clean Wehrmacht” myth. Still, it was a bitter war where the industrialized power vanquished the rebels. and the windows’ depictions seems to promote conciliation.

People regard the Soviet Union in a similar light too. Most people in the West do not appreciate the positive aspects, and often ally with political movements that try to portray it as a genocidal and conflate it with Nazism. There are many who lived in Eastern Bloc who appreciated its positive aspects.

The Soviet Union is not the topic, or even close to it.

Yes. They can do it if they want, what do I care? What irritates me is how self-righteous and disingenuous they’re being. As Bill Martin said, there is no intent to promote discussion, only to give occasion for a lecture.

I think that, even granting the proposition that the Confederacy was about racism, the message that even good men can fight honestly (using fair means) for bad causes is one that would be worth retaining–as a cautionary tale if nothing else.

Maybe they’re hoping potential donors will think it’s a generically Protestant church instead of Episcopalian? It does seem a bit pretentious nowadays that any denomination would set itself up with “the national cathedral,” but it doesn’t bother me if I don’t think about it, which I actually never have until just now. Actually even now that I’m thinking about it, it doesn’t bother me; it just raises a rather cynical smile.


I think the real reason it’s called the “national cathedral” because it’s the national seat of the Episcopalian Church. Two bishops are there: the primate of the Episcopalians and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washigton.

Also, it’s official name is: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington

It’s funny… The first person to suggest a “national church” for state prayer functions was suggested by CATHOLIC Pierre Charles L’Enfant, when he was designing Washington, DC.

His original suggested place for a national Church didn’t pan out, but the idea stuck. During World War II, Congress made the Cathedral the National House of Prayer.

Of course they would never choose a Catholic Cathedral … Even though the idea came from a Catholic. :rolleyes:

But people in DC do the same with with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - they call it “The National Basilica” and call it America’s Catholic Church. Note: New Yorkers do that too with St Patrick’s calling it “America’s Cathedral”

It’s honestly more elitism than anything else

I’ve never heard anyone call St. Patrick’s ‘America’s’ Cathedral - that just sounds odd to me - but perhaps I haven’t been listening.

So what is wrong with trying to efface all references to Confederate symbols then? It is similar those lustration laws.

It’s a good question - why do I care. I think it’s because they’re doing violence to American history to suit their own ideological ends, and I think it’s wrong, as well as self-defeating. White-washing Confederate flags out of American history doesn’t make us a more tolerant people (if that’s what they’re hoping to achieve by this).

Actually, people I know in DC call it the National Shrine, which is the first part of its name. Do non-Catholics have things called shrines? Maybe the Orthodox do? But then, I suppose most of the Protestant denominations don’t have cathedrals, either, so maybe it’s the national cathedral because the Episcopalians are the only major Protestant denomination that would have a cathedral at all?

I thought “America’s Catholic Church” was a slogan the Basilica’s fundraising people came up with. I’m sure I’ve never heard anyone ever call it that in the real world.


The windows in question memorialize Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson****; they were installed in 1953 after lobbying by the United Daughters of the Confederacy****.

The nice thing about the left whitewashing the contents from history is that soon enough it will be the left itself that will be whitewashed from history too.

How is the left whitewashing history? Isn’t the revisionism of the “lost cause of the Confederacy” whitewashing history?

The windows in question memorialize Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson**; they were installed in 1953 after lobbying by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. **

So there is some political advocacy behind this used to ingrain some “lost cause” ideology into the American conscience.

The Confederacy DID lose the Civil War. Everybody, including every southerner, knows it. There’s no “revisionism” to that.

“Lost Cause” is an ideology that whitewashes the nature of the Confederacy.

see also:

This is fascinating…no not the subject, but the reaction. Thanks to all for your comments!

Fear of history bears no positive fruit.


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