Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

National Cathedral Decides to Split the Baby

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 8, 2016

Lee Window


You’d think that people in the religion business would have taken a lesson from King Solomon. But you’d be wrong:


The National Cathedral window panes in question were installed in 1953 in order “foster reconciliation between parts of the nation that had been divided by the Civil War,” [former Dean Gary] Hall said last year, according to the Post. The statement announcing the removal of the Confederate flag portion of the window said the task force called to examine the flag’s presence in the church will revisit the question of the windows themselves in two years.


This is idiocy. Either the National Cathedral should have windows dedicated to Lee and Jackson, or not. Either the church should honor the most prominent leaders of the Confederate military, or not.

I’m all for careful and deliberate decision-making, and if it takes two more years to come to a reasoned consensus on this, fine. But the windows themselves are the issue at hand, not some tiny vexillological element of them. And you can’t fix them — if indeed they should fixed at all — by pretending that Lee and Jackson weren’t actually Confederates.

Have the courage of your convictions, one way or the other, and get on with it.


Image of Robert E. Lee window in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., via ABC.



30 Responses

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  1. Randy P. Lucas said, on June 8, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I agree completely.

  2. OhioGuy said, on June 8, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I’m confused. The window depicted here seems to have two Union soldiers in the lower pane and a Corps of Engineers flag in one upper pane and CBF in the other upper pane. Are the depictions of REL and TJJ in another window?

  3. OhioGuy said, on June 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    I visited the National Cathedral years ago. Now that I see all of these windows together, I remember seeing them back then (circa 1980) and I recall I thought that they were kind of inappropriate at the time. I believe that I feel more strongly about that now then I did at the time. Though, Andy, I do understand your point about cutting the baby in two. I probably should be all or nothing. All and all, these windows aren’t exactly something I’d lose sleep over one way or the other.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 8, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      These windows, like statuary monuments, are artworks unto themselves. You can’t fix a bronze statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest by grinding the Confederate insignia off his uniform; you either relocate it or find a way to deal with it where it is.

  4. freedmenspatrol said, on June 9, 2016 at 3:50 am

    This reads like one of those decisions geared to throw an insignificant bone to people complaining in the hopes that they’ll just go away.

  5. Jim McGhee said, on June 9, 2016 at 9:04 am

    As an uncle of mine often says, “the world has lost its collective mind.”

  6. Bob Huddleston said, on June 9, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Are there Yankee stained glass? And that Presbyterian Ol’ Stonewall no doubt would be unset being in an Episcopalian cathedral!

    • Andy Hall said, on June 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      There’s a Lincoln emancipation scene, along with the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima:

  7. Betty Giragosian said, on June 10, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Although I come from a long line of Episcopalians on one side of my family, I decided they had gone crazy some years ago. I no longer care what that bunch of loons says or does.

  8. bob carey said, on June 13, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I have never been to the National Cathedral, but am I to understand that Lincoln gets a half of window while Stonewall and Bobby Lee get full windows.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

      I believe there’s also a Lincoln statue there. But I’m not certain about a full listing.

      • bob carey said, on June 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

        I hope so!!

        • Andy Hall said, on June 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

          They also have a Darth Vader:

          • bob carey said, on June 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

            I know that the Cathedral is non-denominational but having a gargoyle to a fictional alien from a galaxy far away is a bit of a stretch. May the “farce” be with you.

            • Andy Hall said, on June 13, 2016 at 2:47 pm

              It’s apparently a tip o’ the chisel to the medieval stonemasons who carves similar fantastical characters into the big cathedrals of Europe.

              • woodrowfan said, on June 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm

                they have lots of very cool gargoyles, traditional and non. I have a bookend of the “Crooked Politician” figure.

    • OhioGuy said, on June 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      Well, REL was an Episcopalian! 😉

  9. Leo said, on June 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I wonder if this guy will show up to protest.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      We all have our priorities.

      • Leo said, on June 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        McDonald’s clearly outranks religion. 😉

    • woodrowfan said, on June 15, 2016 at 8:18 am

      dear God. That was sad. and painful. self-awareness is not his strong suit.

      • Andy Hall said, on June 15, 2016 at 9:01 am

        The dude showed up a half-hour late to his own protest this past weekend.

        • bob carey said, on June 23, 2016 at 3:54 pm

          By the looks of him, this guy probably should have skipped the stop at McDonalds.

          • Andy Hall said, on June 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

            I’ll have to check in and see what he’s up to. I haven’t heard of McDonald’s filing for Chapter 11, have you?

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