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US Episcopalians act over Confederate battle-flag tensions

03 July 2015

KEN COBB/WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL

Marking history: the Confederate flag is depicted in a window in the National Cathedral which recalls the Southern General, Robert E. Lee

Marking history: the Confederate flag is depicted in a window in the National Cathedral which recalls the Southern General, Robert E. Lee...

THE House of Deputies of the US Episcopal Church's General Convention has called on churches, public and governmental bodies, and individuals to cease flying or displaying the Confederate battle flag.

During the meeting this week in Salt Lake City, Utah, a motion was proposed by Deputy Betsy Baumgarten, of Mississippi, who said that she recognised that, for some, the flag was a sign of their heritage.

But, she said, "for many more it has been, and continues to be, a symbol of slavery, racial injustice, and violence; and now, more than ever, a sign of the white-supremacist movement.

"The Confederate battle-flag has no place in a church that calls all baptised persons to respect the dignity of every human being." Deputies approved the motion.

The Dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, the Very Revd Gary Hall, has announced that the cathedral will remove a stained-glass window in which the flag is depicted.

There has been growing pressure for the abandoning of the flag since the Charleston church killings. "For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred," President Obama told mourners at the funeral of one of the victims of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Pastor Clementa Pinckney (  News, 19 June).

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