BOISE — Idaho is thousands of miles from the former Confederate States of America, but an image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has still presided over a sanctuary in the heart of downtown Boise for 60 years.
This week, the board of The Cathedral of the Rockies, a large Methodist church in the North End, decided to remove a stained glass window from its sanctuary that features an image of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Lee, according to a statement from the church’s board.
“We believe this section of our window to be inconsistent with our current mission, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as well as the banner which hangs above our doors espousing, ‘All means all — you are welcome here,’” the statement said. “Further, such display is a barrier to our important work resisting evil, injustice and oppression. Symbols of white supremacy do not belong in our sacred space.”
A statement from the church board said the window will be replaced with an undetermined person of color.
The church did not respond to an interview request about the window earlier this week and was unreachable by phone due to COVID-19.
Cathedral of the Rockies was the first Methodist Church in Idaho when it was founded in 1872, but the current building with the window was built in 1960. According to the United Methodist news service, the window was commissioned in 1958 by Rev. Herbert Richards.
“We have included also a patriotic theme in one lancet which includes George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Robert Lee,” Richards wrote in a letter, as reported by the UM news service. “We have a strong southern influence here in Boise.”
The board’s statement appears online under a banner that says “we repent for our participation in white supremacy” with #blacklivesmatter. According to the board’s statement, Cathedral of the Rockies has been focusing on racism after a white supremacist known to fly the Confederate flag killed nine people at a church in South Carolina in 2015.