Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits St. John’s Church while peaceful demonstrators are tear-gassed
Dear Commons Community,
Yesterday in the midst of a peaceful protest in Washington, D.C., President Trump decided to stage a photo-op at St. John’s Church after having given a “law and order’ statement about the riots going on in American cities. It was a surreal moment as state militia shot teargas into the peaceful demonstrators so that Trump could walk across Lincoln Park to St. John’s Church. Holding a bible, the hypocritical president who never goes to church, maybe was trying to show that God was on his side. In response, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the Rev. Mariann Budde sharply criticized President Donald Trump and said that she was “outraged” by his visit. As reported by the Associated Press.
“He took the symbols sacred to our tradition and stood in front of a house of prayer in full expectation that would be a celebratory moment,” Budde said in an interview after her statement on Trump’s visit was posted to the diocese’s Twitter account.
“There was nothing I could do but speak out against that,” she added, calling for a focus on “the deeper wounds of the country” amid ongoing demonstrations against racial injustice.
Budde said the church was “just completely caught off-guard” by the visit, with “no sense that this was a sacred space to be used for sacred purposes.” In order to facilitate Trump’s statement there, she said, she believed tear gas was used in the area between the White House and the church.
As protests nationwide flared following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, St. John’s suffered minor damage Sunday night from a fire in the church basement. Budde said “our suffering was minimal” compared with businesses that were destroyed by recent looting, even as she defended the goals of peaceful protesters responding to Floyd’s killing.
“We can rebuild the church. We can replace the furnishings of a nursery,” she said, referring to the damaged area. “We can’t bring a man’s life back.”
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, issued his own statement saying that Trump had “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.”
“This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” added Curry, the first African American to hold that leadership post for U.S. Episcopalians.
The bishop, who last year joined other Washington National Cathedral leaders in a statement that excoriated Trump’s “racialized rhetoric,” firmly aligned her faith with the goals of peaceful protesters driven by Floyd’s death to decry systemic racism.
“In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation,” Budde said in her statement. “In faithfulness to our Savior who lived a life of non-violence and sacrificial love, we align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd.”
Trump’s actions were a sacrilege to God and country!