Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington condemned President Donald Trump’s order to tear gas protesters so he could have a photo op in front of a church.
Trump gave a speech on Monday threatening to send military into the streets to quell protests as loud explosions were heard nearby.
The explosions came from nearby Lafayette Park, where military police and federal authorities fired tear gas at peaceful protesters before the city’s curfew went into effect. The move was ordered by Trump to clear a path to St. John’s Church, which was damaged by fire in the protests.
Trump held up a bible in the bizarre photo op.
Budde told CNN that she was “outraged” over Trump’s stunt.
“The President did not pray when he came to St. John's, nor as you just articulated, did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now," she told CNN. "And in particular, that of the people of color in our nation, who wonder if anyone ever -- anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred words. And who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country. And I just want the world to know, that we in the diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love ... we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this President. We follow someone who lived a life of nonviolence and sacrificial love."
"Let me be clear: The President just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus," she added.
Democrats decry church stunt:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer condemned Trump’s stunt.
“Together, we must insist on the truth that America must do much more to live up to its promise: the promise of liberty and justice for all, which so many have sacrificed for – from Dr. King to John Lewis to peaceful protestors on the streets today,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement. “At this challenging time, our nation needs real leadership. The President’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous.”
“Across our country, Americans are protesting for an end to the pattern of racial injustice and brutality we saw most recently in the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. Yet, at a time when our country cries out for unification, this President is ripping it apart,” Pelosi added on Twitter. “Tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that the President could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us.”