Virginia church to move plaques honoring Lee and Washington

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A historic Episcopal church in Alexandria, Va., has made the decision to move a pair of plaques that paid tribute to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and President George Washington in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, according to CNN.

The plaques honoring Lee and Washington, who were former parishioners, were displayed on either side of the altar at Christ Church in Alexandria. 

“After the events in Charlottesville, those conversations came more to the forefront, they became more intense,” the church’s rector, Noelle York-Simmons, told CNN.

{mosads}”It became clear to the vestry — the governing body of the church — that we needed to take these conversations more seriously,” she continued. 

York-Simmon’s comments come amid the growing debate over the placement of Confederate monuments and statues in public places. 

The debate was reignited in August when a group of white supremacists and nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Lee. 

The demonstrators clashed with counterprotesters, causing parts of the normally quiet college town to descend into chaos. One counterprotester was killed when a driver plowed into her.

Public officials have since grappled with the future of the monuments and statues throughout the country. 

Washington National Cathedral, which is also an Episcopal parish, voted in September to take down stained glass windows honoring Lee and Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

“The Chapter believes that these windows are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation,” according to a letter from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s Bishop Marianne Edgar Budde and the National Cathedral’s chapter chair, John Donoghue, and dean, Randy Hollerith.


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