Camila Domonoske, NPR, June 9, 2016
The Washington National Cathedral says it will remove two images of the Confederate battle flag from the building’s stained glass windows. Then the church will hold a period of public discussion on issues of race, slavery and justice and revisit the question of how to treat other depictions of the Civil War on the windows.
A five-person task force that examined the windows’ symbolic power said the flags cannot remain on the cathedral as they have thus far in the building’s history. But instead of quietly taking down the windows, the task force said, just the flags should be replaced–and then the windows should be used as a starting point for a series of conversations.
“[T]he windows provide a catalyst for honest discussions about race and the legacy of slavery and for addressing the uncomfortable and too often avoided issues of race in America,” the task force found, according to a press release from the National Cathedral.
One member of the task force said the windows raise a question about race and slavery in America, “and instead of turning away from that question, the cathedral has decided to lean into it.”
A series of panel discussions and events exploring race and racism will kick off next month at the cathedral in Washington, D.C.
During the period of discussion, the windows as a whole will remain in place. But the Confederate flag images, specifically, will be removed and replaced with plain glass, a process that will be paid for by private donors, the cathedral says.