To the editor:
I recently read that the Rev. Dr. Noelle York-Simmons and the vestry of historic Christ Church decided to take the plaques representing George Washington and Robert E. Lee down inside their house of worship. I was seriously disturbed by this news, especially because this editing process involves Washington, who helped found the church and
helped pay for the pew that bears his name. He is one of our founding fathers and our first president. His image is on two pieces of U.S. currency and his name and image are spread throughout our beautiful country. It is because of him, and our other founding fathers, that we have churches here in America that we are free to worship in.
The decision to remove his plaque not only deprives future visitors and generations from gaining the knowledge of the church’s, and our country’s, history, but it sends the message that George Washington is a villain, unacceptable to honor. It also creates a domino effect by causing others to demand more historical articles’ removal from public sight. This decision causes me personal turmoil and anguish for the future of our country.
I want to ask: do the leaders of Christ Church condone teaching others to fear our history? How can anyone be afraid of a plaque that states that one of the country’s founders worshipped in that church more than 200 years ago? It should be an honor and a privilege to acknowledge that this brave man, who risked his life to fight for the founding of our country, prayed for guidance in that very pew.
I personally see these types of attacks on our historical artifacts as a way to discredit the grandeur and freedoms of our country. This ultimately, and unfortunately, feeds the hopes, by some, of rewriting the original founding documents that afford us the freedoms we
were born with. These efforts to rewrite history come under the guise of
political-correctness and the fight against racism.
Our family loves visiting historical sites and beautiful houses of worship all over the country. I myself was a tour guide at an historical site for several years. We will not be visiting Christ Church if these plaques are removed, for that would effectively remove the truth and the history of that house of worship and our country.
-Jessica Dieckman, New York