Washington Cathedral

Confederate flags and stained glass: Why can't journalists run more than one point of view?

Confederate flags and stained glass: Why can't journalists run more than one point of view?

Years ago, I used to be a tour guide at the Washington Cathedral. We were called “cathedral aides” back in the mid-1970s and we wore purple gowns in the winter with cute purple berets. In the summer, we retained the berets, but wore summer garb with some purple in it. It was always a challenge to find the right color blouse I could wear with my outfit, but I loved memorizing the facts about all the gargoyles, chapels and the amazing stained glass the illuminated the place.

Some of those windows depicted scenes from U.S. history. What drew the most eyes was the blue, green, orange, red and white Space Window showing the universe with a tiny piece of moon rock embedded therein.

Meanwhile, my personal favorites were the brilliant-hewed windows by Rowan LeCompte who designed some 40 of the cathedral’s 200+ windows.

However, let it be noted that LeCompte did not design two windows that were in the news yesterday. I’ll begin with an account by the Washington Post:

Washington National Cathedral, one of the country’s most visible houses of worship, announced Wednesday that it would remove Confederate battle flags that are part of two large stained-glass windows honoring Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Cathedral leaders said they would leave up the rest of the windows — for now — and use them as a centerpiece for a national conversation about racism in the white church.
The announcement comes a year after the cathedral’s then-dean, the Rev. Gary Hall, said the 8-by-4-foot windows have no place in the soaring church as the country faces intense racial tensions and violence, even though they were intended as a healing gesture when they were installed…

Next comes a quote about the windows being installed in 1953. Then there is this very significant information, if one is looking at this story from a journalistic point of view. Please read carefully:

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