Washington falls to the American Taliban
violently anti-Catholic and anti-Italian. In its heyday in the 1920s, there were some 700,000 Klan members in Indiana alone and the Klan was stronger in the Midwest monuments and destroyed as many as they could when this failed.
The absurdity of our ignorance today is perhaps best illustrated by the decision last week to remove a small plaque recognizing that George Washington donated a pew to Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia, and that he and his wife worshipped there for some 20 years. It wasn’t a statue, but a plaque similar to one often found on park benches donated by a family in remembrance of a relative. Apparently, the very existence of the plaque scared the bejesus out of some overly sensitive and perhaps marginally unbalanced parishioners.
The church removed a similar plaque commemorating the fact that Robert E. Lee worshipped at the church. Regardless of how one feels about Lee, the attack on George and Martha Washington is simply absurd.
The Washingtons didn’t just attend Christ Church, which the church has bragged about ever since — they saved it. The church was originally supported by the British government’s Church of England, but after Cornwallis surrendered to Washington’s armies, London cut off the subsidy. Washington personally donated the money needed to save the church in a new nation that abhorred the idea of a government-supported church and included in its Constitution a provision guaranteeing freedom of religion.
According to the current church rector, Noelle York-Simmons, the issue of the plaques was debated and discussed among parishioners for more than a month. She would not say if there was any disagreement with the action taken, noting only that the decision was “a unanimous vote of the vestry” because of the feeling that acknowledging that either Lee or Washington had attended Christ Church made some “of our parishioners feel unsafe or unwelcome.” “Some visitors and guests who worship with us chose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques,” she added.
She and other leaders of her church seem intent upon ignoring the many, many Americans who have over decades visited, donated to and, yes, even worshipped at Christ Church precisely because it was George Washington’s church and was advertised as such by her and those who preceded her. Those intimidated or made fearful by the recognition of a man proudly and appropriately remembered by most Americans as “the father” of his country because he lived in different times are, as we are learning, unlikely to be satisfied — until all traces of pride in our history are eradicated and places like Christ Church are replaced by public parking lots. David A. Keene is editor at large at The Washington Times.