(National Security) Activism: In an odd twist, the Virginia church our first president attended for 20 years is planning to tear out his memorial because leaving it in place could make some worshippers feel “unsafe or unwelcome.”
George Washington became a founding member of Christ Church in Alexandria, Va., in 1773, but now church leaders want to remove his memorial and a similar memorial to Confederate commanding Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Washington Times reports.
Church officials claim that the memorials, which are positioned to the left and right of the altar, are now too divisive and are likely discouraging some parishioners from attending services.
“The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” the church leaders said, according to the Washington Times. “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.”
The decision to take down the memorials now places the church in the middle of a nationwide debate fueled by the Left regarding the display of memorials to historic U.S. figures whose acts or statements do not align with their social norms of today.
Several groups have protested recently against memorials to Confederate generals, for instance, including Lee, as well as transformative presidents like Andrew Jackson and even Abraham Lincoln.
Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, rector of Christ Church, told the Washington Times that the decision to remove the memorials was made via a “unanimous vote” of the church leadership committee, or vestry.
Church leaders say they will remove the plaques by next summer, but there has yet to be a decision regarding how they will be displayed elsewhere on church grounds.
“The new display location will be determined by a parish committee,” York-Simmons said. “That location will provide a place for our parish to offer a fuller narrative of our rich history, including the influence of these two powerful men on our church and our country.”
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