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Church Removing Founding Member George Washington's Memorial

Church Removing Founding Member George Washington's Memorial

A statue of George Washington points the way to the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By    |   Saturday, 28 October 2017 09:01 AM

Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is removing memorials to late President George Washington, one of its founding members, and another famous parishioner, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, saying their presence disturbs some church goers.

The plaques, attached to a wall on either side of the church's altar in its sanctuary, "make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome," church leaders said in a statement, according to The Washington Times. "Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques."

Washington bought pew No. 5 in 1773, when the church first opened in 1773, and attended worship services there for more than two decades.

Church leaders said they've gotten some "friction" over their decision, but said the plaques are from another era and now have no business being at a church that says its motto is "all are welcome — no exceptions.”

The decision will officially be announced to the church on Sunday, a staffer said. It comes during a continued debate about whether statues dedicated to Confederate soldiers should be removed. The debate was highlighted in August after a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over its decision to remove a statue dedicated to Lee.

Washington, as did many people during his era, had several slaves at his Mount Vernon, Virginia plantation. According to a website for Washington's home, the late president held slaves for 56 years, beginning at the age of 11, when his father died and left him his plantation and 10 slaves.

However, Washington freed his slaves in his 1799 will, becoming the only slave-holding founding father to take that action, historians note.

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Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is removing memorials to late President George Washington, one of its founding members, and another famous parishioner, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, saying their presence disturbs some church goers.
washington, memorial, church
284
2017-01-28
Saturday, 28 October 2017 09:01 AM
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