Washington D.C.’s iconic National Cathedral is preparing to make some changes to its intricate stained glass windows. Leaders at the cathedral have announced plans to remove images of Confederate battle flags shown in large stained glass displays that honor Civil War generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, both of whom led Confederate forces.
The windows were installed more than six decades ago. The cathedral’s former dean explained to USA Today, that they were first installed in the early ‘50s to “foster reconciliation between parts of the nation that had been divided by the Civil War,” but today, “there is no place for the Confederate battle flag in the iconography of the nation’s most visible faith community.”
The cathedral’s canon theologian, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, issued a statement that explained that even though the flags would be removed, the windows themselves would remain up,
Instead of simply taking the windows down and going on with business as usual, the cathedral recognizes that, for now, they provide an opportunity for us to begin to write a new narrative on race and racial justice at the cathedral and perhaps for our nation.
Removing the flag from public displays has seen increasing amounts of support among Christian leaders. At a recent meeting of Southern Baptist Convention leaders, 90% said that they support a resolution to have it taken down in public displays across the nation. The measure read,
With full respect of the autonomy of the local church, we call brothers and sisters in Christ who display the Confederate battle flag as a memorial … to consider prayerfully whether to limit, or even more so, discontinue its display. We urge fellow Christians to exercise sensitivity so that nothing brings division or hinders the unity of the Body of Christ to be a bold witness to the transforming power of Jesus.