Stained-glass windows honoring some religious leaders who helped shift the Southern Baptist Convention to a more conservative stance have been removed from the MacGorman Chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
The removal was reported by religious publications last month. Seminary officials have not made a public statement about why the windows were removed, but the windows featured dismissed seminary president Paige Patterson, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday. Patterson was fired last May amid criticism of his responses to rape allegations made years apart by two students.
The stained-glass pantheon also includes an image of former Texas state judge and Southern Baptist Convention leader Paul Pressler, who was accused by men of sexual abuse when they were minors.
The MacGorman Chapel windows were unveiled several years ago and funded by contributions.
Seminary board officials criticized Patterson for his email to campus security in 2015 saying he wanted to meet alone with a student who said she'd been raped, to "break her down."
Patterson also was criticized for contradictory responses about his review of a student's rape allegation in 2003 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina.
Two of the removed stained-glass windows — honoring former SBC president Jerry Vines and televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr. — are now in Lynchburg, Virginia, at the Jerry Falwell Museum at Liberty University.
University president Jerry Falwell Jr. criticized Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's decision to remove the windows, saying they were “removed by the new regime,” according to the Baptist News Global, an apparent reference to new seminary president Dr. Adam Greenway's leadership, and "I guess Southern Baptists have their own deep state."
Falwell then clarified his remarks in a tweet:
My good friend @jerryvines just told me Dr. Adam Greenway is a wonderful man and not part of the @drmoore SBC deep state regime trying to subvert the will of the church members! So glad to hear this news! @toddstarnes https://t.co/ra7vCnutj9
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) May 14, 2019
“My good friend @jerryvines just told me Dr. Adam Greenway is a wonderful man and not part of the @drmoore SBC deep state regime trying to subvert the will of the church members! So glad to hear this news!”
Fallwell sent a plane to Fort Worth to retrieve the two windows, and he's asking the seminary to return donations that purchased them.
Other figures included in the windows include former SBC presidents W.A. Criswell, founder of Criswell College in East Dallas; and Homer Edwin Young, whose son Ed Young is pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine.
The removal of the windows were also a blow to the artists who were commissioned for the once-in-a-lifetime project.
Artists Don and Debora Young, who run a small studio out of their Fort Worth home, told Religion News Service that the commission was to take about a dozen years and would have earned them as much as $2 million.
"It was like a dream," Don Young said. "And then, just like that, we went from a dream job with a regular paycheck to nothing."