National Cathedral removing Confederate general stained glass windows

WASHINGTON — The Washington National Cathedral is removing two stained glass windows that depict two famous Confederate generals.

Cathedral authorities announced Wednesday that windows depicting generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will removed and stored pending a decision about their future.

This stained glass window on June 25, 2015, at The Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, depicts the life of US Civil War General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. The dean of The National Cathedral, Reverend Gary Hall, called on June 25 for two stained glass windows that depict the controversial Confederate flag to be replaced. Hall said the windows — installed in 1953 and depicting Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson — were no longer appropriate. ‘It is time to take those windows out,’ Hall said in a statement, eight days after a young white supremacist murdered nine blacks in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. ‘Here, in 2015, we know that celebrating the lives of these two men, and the flag under which they fought, promotes neither healing nor reconciliation, especially for our African-American sisters and brothers.’ AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS

A cathedral statement says the images are “inconsistent” with its mission and “a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation.”

The windows have been a topic of debate for two years. Removing them was first proposed after the June 2015 racially motivated shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. Cathedral officials say they have been debating ways to potentially keep the windows but “contextualize” their historical meaning. But the statement says the issue gained new “urgency” after the recent, violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.