Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy, October 31, 2017
Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, was constructed during the years 1765 and 1773. It was designed by James Wren, a relative of Sir Christopher Wren, the most famous English architect. The colonial era, pre-Revolutionary War church, is a national historic landmark.
Christ Church was the church for George Washington and for Robert E. Lee and for other notables of our early history. Robert E. Lee was married to George Washington’s great-granddaughter.
The congregation was proud of the church, its history and simple beauty. In addition to the spiritual dimension, there was the historical one. The Episcopal service was beautiful, and the rector’s sermon was always short. My young son could sit through the service, and the choir and organ were wonderful.
With such fond memories I was astonished to hear from the Senior Warden that Christ Church has decided to remove the “marble memorial plaques to George Washington and Robert Edward Lee in our worship space.” Apparently, our first president’s sin is that he owned Slaves in the 18th century, a common practice at the time when white, Indian, and black slaves were common across the world. Robert E. Lee’s sin is that he “fought for slavery,” a lie that I and Thomas DiLorenzo recently refuted on this website.
One doesn’t quite know what to make of history being erased like this. Washington and Lee (and there is a university of that name) are probably the two most decent and honorable people the United States has ever produced. But their association with an ancient, by US standards, church, which Washington helped to found, is to be erased.
Being trendy for Christ Church means deep-sixing its own history. The congregation today must be different from the one Joe Fowler, with whom I had breakfast most Sunday mornings, and I knew.
America is disappearing. The country I live in today bears no resemblance to the one into which I was born. Perhaps I should write about what it was like to be an American when America was still present in the world.