Surely no one who read the Bible would fight for the wrong side

The Washington National Cathedral has decided to remove two images of the Confederate slavery flag from a set of stained glass windows commemorating the lives of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. We bet nobody will make a big stink over the decision, because why would you have that thing in a house of worship, after all?

The decision came nearly a year after the racist murders of nine worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the resulting national fuck-tussle over whether the Confederate flag is a racist symbol of Southern heritage or an innocent signifier of white supremacy. The Confederate battle flag is displayed in two of a set of eight windows that were installed in 1953 with funding (and lobbying from) the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Last year, the then-Dean of the National Cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall, called for the removal of the Lee/Jackson window display altogether, saying that although the (official) intent of the windows was to "foster reconciliation between parts of the nation that had been divided by the Civil War" -- which is, of course, what Confederate "Heritage" groups were all about in 1953 -- they no longer belonged in a place of worship:

While the impetus behind the windows’ installation was a good and noble one at the time, the Cathedral has changed, and so has the America it seeks to represent. There is no place for the Confederate battle flag in the iconography of the nation’s most visible faith community. We cannot in good conscience justify the presence of the Confederate flag in this house of prayer for all people, nor can we honor the systematic oppression of African-Americans for which these two men fought.

For now, only the Confederate battle flag will be removed; a five-member task force has been working to decide how to deal with the entire set of windows, which depict various scenes from the lives of the two generals. None of the images include any slaves, for some reason.

For larger image, go to ABC News

Hall told NPR last year that the windows needed to go, and that the inscriptions on the windows inappropriately celebrate Lee and Jackson as "exemplary Christian people," a message that distorts the historical record. As Yr Wonkette has noted, rightwing Christianist textbooks portray the two as exemplary Christians; one eighth-grade text called Lee “a man of prayer” and a “Great Christian General,” and devotes a large text box to "Stonewall Jackson: Soldier of the Cross," in with we learn the good pro-slavery general's "courageous faith in God carried him through many dangerous battles”:

For example, after First Manassas an aide asked General Jackson how he managed to remain so calm as bullets and shells whistled about him. Jackson replied, “Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready no matter when it may overtake me.” He paused and then added, “Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

The same Confederate apologist impulse from that textbook (yes, still in print) was clearly at work in the window showing Jackson "Reading the Bible" like any decent godfearing defender of owning human beings would do.

The task force decided that instead of quietly covering over the battle flag, the cathedral should use the windows and the question of what to do with them as the starting place for a wider discussion of slavery and history, as well as how churches played a role both in fighting and perpetuating racism:

"[T]he windows provide a catalyst for honest discussions about race and the legacy of slavery and for addressing the uncomfortable and too often avoided issues of race in America," the task force found, according to a press release from the National Cathedral.

One member of the task force said the windows raise a question about race and slavery in America, "and instead of turning away from that question, the cathedral has decided to lean into it."

A series of panel discussions and events exploring race and racism will kick off next month.

While those public discussions move forward, the windows will stay in place, but the Confederate flags will be replaced with a pane of plain glass; private donors will pay for the replacement. In that NPR interview last year, Rev. Hall explained:

I'm not trying to whitewash our history. I'm trying to celebrate our history. But since the cathedral tells the story of America, and just as America is trying to come to terms finally with the Civil War and slavery and racism and segregation, it seems to me that it's more appropriate for us to have windows that tell that story in all of its complicated fullness than just present a kind of public relations picture of a couple of Southern generals.

Despite the inevitable complaints about censoring history that will come when the windows are replaced (we presume they'd eventually go into a museum setting, though there's been no final decision yet), that desire to replace them with something that isn't merely pro-Confederate propaganda seems like exactly the right way to let the light in.

[NPR / WaPo via TPM / NPR / ABC]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Hell of a coincidence we have here! On the very same day that a Russian spy gets arrested for using the NRA as a conduit to the Republican Party -- ahem POLITICAL PARTY 1! -- the United States Treasury announces that it won't be collecting donor information from "social welfare groups." Guess which "GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION" is a tax exempt social welfare group that raised $337 million in 2016 and will now be able to hide its donor list from the prying eyes of the American public?

Here's a hint:

That's right, donors to the the NRA and those Kochsuckers at Americans for Prosperity can now dump infinity political dollars into their lobbying and electioneering efforts without having their names disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. Or the IRS. Or anyone who might object to propping up lunatic politicians who want to arm preschoolers.

In the bad old days, i.e. yesterday, "social welfare organizations" had to give the IRS names and addresses of anyone donating over $5,000. But now they get to keep it all secret, as White Jesus and Charles Koch intended. Here's how the Treasury explains the change on its website.

Tax-exempt organizations described by section 501(c), other than section 501(c)(3) organizations, are no longer required to report the names and addresses of their contributors on the Schedule B of their Forms 990 or 990-EZ.

Okay, now 'splain us how awesome this is gonna be, Steven Mnuchin!

Americans shouldn't be required to send the IRS information that it doesn't need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area. It is important to emphasize that this change will in no way limit transparency. The same information about tax-exempt organizations that was previously available to the public will continue to be available, while private taxpayer information will be better protected.

BOOOOORING! Hey, Mitch McConnell, you're a big old whore -- say the quiet part out loud to the Wall Street Journal.

The IRS's decision is a move in the right direction to end activist regulators' culture of intimidation to silence political speech. [...] More and more states were using these documents to chill political discourse, rather than encourage it.

That'll do it! Can't do anything about the pizza racists running their mouths and ruining the grift. But you can make it harder for customers to work out what corporate owners do with their earnings. Because money is speech, and speech is free, and we all have a First Amendment right to secretly fund organizations that team up with Russia to ratfuck American elections and starve the poor.

Thanks, Justice Kennedy!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

If you click here to fund us, we promise not to make you read about tax policy tomorrow! PROBABLY.

[ / WSJ]

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Fox News has been LI'L BIT CONFUSED about how to cover Donald Trump's treason meeting with Vladimir Putin. There was a lot of tut-tutting from Fox's daytime journalists (the "real" ones) on Monday, but then it was Double Dipshit Time on Monday night as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity took over the commentary. Carlson found the real election hackers (brown Mexican people who either move to America and become legal citizens who vote or brown Mexican people who are just born here, as if THAT is allowed!) and declared that Russian meddling is like number 115 on the list of things that threaten America. (The other 114 are the blacks and the Mexicans and the gypsies, because Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist.) Meanwhile, Hannity hosted Donald Trump for some kind of mutual lick-off session where Trump said that Putin had informed him that there was NO COLLUSION. It's good to have a KGB handler who remembers stuff like that!

But even then, there was a hopeful moment! Fox News's Chris Wallace committed an actual act of journalism Monday night when he interviewed Vladimir Putin, going so far as to stick Robert Mueller's indictments in the Russian leader's stupid fucking face and dare him to read them. He even asked Putin why he constantly murders people with poison. GO GET HIM, CHRIS WALLACE!

Usually the next morning's "Fox & Friends" is like Carlson and Hannity's afterbirth, but Tuesday morning was a little bit different! For some reason, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade and Abby Huntsman were not 100% pleased with Dear Leader's behavior in Helsinki! So they put on their Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski masks and did their best impression of a more dumber version of "Morning Joe," and oh my god it was SO WEIRD. Like, they would be outraged for a second, but then they would immediately compliment him and reassure him that he is a Very Good Boy who won that presidential election fair and square.

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