Bishop ’Outraged’ Over Trump’s Church Photo Op during George Floyd Protests
By Staff, Agencies
The Episcopal bishop of Washington DC said she is “outraged” after officers used teargas to clear a crowd of peaceful protesters from near the White House to make way for US President Donald Trump.
Minutes after speaking in the Rose Garden about the importance of “law and order” to quell the unrest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Trump walked across the street to St John’s Episcopal Church, where every American president since James Madison has worshipped.
But not before police used teargas and force to clear the streets for Trump’s photo opportunity.
Once he arrived at St John’s, Trump held up a Bible that read “God is love”, while posing in front of the church’s sign.
The Right Rev Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, told the Washington Post: “I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop.”
Trump’s message is at odds with the values of love and tolerance espoused by the church, Budde said, before describing the president’s visit as an opportunity to use the church, and a Bible, as a “backdrop”.
“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 told CNN.
“We align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others. And I just can’t believe what my eyes have seen,” she added.
“I don’t want President Trump speaking for St John’s. We so dissociate ourselves from the messages of this president,” she told the Washington Post. “We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so, so grounding to our lives and everything we do, and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice.”
Other religious leaders echoed her comments.