“America is disappearing. The country I live in today bears no resemblance to the one into which I was born…”
By Paul Craig Roberts
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.
It was my church when I lived in Old Town Alexandria, a colonial settlement along the Potomac River. It was also the church of my neighbor, Henry “Joe” Fowler, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury for President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of the Treasury for President Johnson. Another neighbor was US Air Force General Benton Partin, whose study proved conclusively that the Murrah Federal Office building in Oklahoma City blew up from the inside out and not from the outside in from McVeigh’s truck bomb.
Joe Fowler and I used to talk about how facts were no longer part of any aspect of Washington’s policy or media reporting. And this was long ago in the 80s and 90s. Imagine today when it is the obligation of the US media to lie for the CIA and the DNC.
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.
I am puzzled by the reference to “marble memorial plaques.” What I remember is small silver plaques, measuring a few inches by a few inches, that designated the pews in which the Washington family and the Lee family sat. I often wondered years ago that no one had yet pried off the silver plaques for souvenirs. Perhaps they have, and were replaced by marble plaques. On the other hand, perhaps I never noticed the marble plaques, which leaves me wondering if the marble plaques are to be removed, what about the silver ones on the pews. Who gets those?
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.
From the standpoint of its traditional parishioners, the Episcopal Church has departed the Christian religion. The Episcopal Church has gone against the scriptures by ordaining women and LGBT people, and by sanctioning same sex “marriage,” although the Book of Common Prayer still describes marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
But, I mean, really, what is consistency when you have to be trendy?
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.