President Donald Trump warned that after Confederate statues would come America’s first President George Washington, and he was correct.
The vestry of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, where Washington worshipped announced on Thursday in a letter that it would be removing memorial plaques honoring him, and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee who was also a parishioner.
“We understand that both Washington and Lee lived in times much different than our own, and that each man, in addition to his public persona, was a complicated human being, and like all of us, a child of God,” it said. “Today, the legacy of slavery and of the Confederacy is understood differently than it was in 1870. For some, Lee symbolizes the attempt to overthrow the Union and to preserve slavery. Today our country is trying once again to come to grips with the history of slavery and the subsequent disenfranchisement of people of color.”
“Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘All are welcome — no exceptions,'” it read. “Because the sanctuary is a worship space, not a museum, there is no appropriate way to inform visitors about the history of the plaques or to provide additional context except for the in-person tours provided by our docents.”
It added that “George Washington and Robert E. Lee should be considered together. The plaques were erected at the same time. They visually balance each other, maintaining the symmetry of our sanctuary. The men they memorialize are giants in our nation’s history and were members of this parish. Robert E. Lee has taken on outsized symbolism in the national conversation about race and inclusion.
“The Vestry has unanimously decided that the plaques create a distraction in our worship space and may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church, and an impediment to our growth and to full community with our neighbors. Accordingly, the plaques will be relocated no later than the summer of 2018.”
It said it will convene a committee of parishioners to decide where to relocate the plaques.
Conservative actor James Woods called it “the beginning of the end.”
This is the beginning of the end… https://t.co/V4PPlA8EPc
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 28, 2017
And he was not the only person on social media angry about the news.
— Sheriff Paul Babeu (@PaulBabeuAZ) October 28, 2017
George Washington plaque at his own church to be taken down. They’ll come for the monument and Mt. Rushmore too… https://t.co/6NcagQEOx9
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) October 28, 2017
George Washington church removing “offensive” plaque honoring first President
Insane, but we knew this would happenhttps://t.co/Zl70Ziducx
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) October 28, 2017
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) October 28, 2017
Historic church where George Washington worshipped is removing his memorial plaque- misguided, sad & very wrong https://t.co/8ovABsGCwY
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 27, 2017
This is so fucking stupid it makes my head hurt. https://t.co/HiHLMi6q2f
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 28, 2017
It was never going to stop with the Confederates. https://t.co/Z5wyeuiFNm
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 28, 2017
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