The rebuke from the Right Rev. Mariann Budde came after the president threatened the use of military force to quash a nationwide wave of racial unrest.
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on Tuesday condemned the violent dispersal of peaceful protesters to accommodate President Donald Trump's visit to a church, calling the photo opportunity a “symbolic gesture” that was “antithetical” to the core tenets of Christianity.
The fierce rebuke from the Right Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese oversees the church Trump visited Monday evening, came after the president threatened the use of military force to quash a nationwide wave of racial unrest if state and local officials refused to activate the National Guard.
As the president spoke from the Rose Garden on Monday, police officers and National Guard units fired rubber bullets, deployed flash bangs and set off tear gas bombs to force protesters from Lafayette Square across from the White House.
The tactics by law enforcement allowed Trump to cross the street with top political aides and senior administration officials and stand outside St. John’s Church, the so-called “Church of the Presidents,” where he brandished a Bible “as if it were spiritual validation and justification for a message that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and to the God of justice,” Budde said.
“I felt in no uncertain terms that I had to disassociate us from that symbolic gesture and to speak a word of justice and peace to the nation,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Several faith leaders have expressed outrage over the president’s staged photo opportunity at St. John’s, which was partly damaged by a basement fire during protests this week. Still, Budde said Tuesday that Trump was still “welcome, as anyone is welcome,” to worship at the historic church.
“The presidents are welcome as citizens of this country to pray alongside fellow citizens, to kneel before God in humility and to rededicate themselves to the task to which they've been elected,” she said.
Budde added, however, that Trump “is not entitled to use the spiritual symbolism of our sacred spaces and our sacred texts to promote or to justify … an entirely different message.”
Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/02/washington-bishop-condemns-trump-message-295946