Two bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States have publicly criticized Donald Trump for using a historic Washington, D.C. church for a photo op.
Reverend Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington slammed the President for using St. John’s Church, which is in her jurisdiction, without informing them in advance. She tweeted her disapproval.
“We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.”
We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.
— Mariann Budde (@Mebudde) June 2, 2020
“I am outraged,” Budde later 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.”
“Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence. We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.”
The Most Reverend Michael Curry, who is Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, joined in Budde’s criticism of the President.
“This evening, the President of the United States stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, lifted up a Bible, and had pictures of himself taken. In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes,” Curry said in a statement.
“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.”
“The Bible the President held up and the church that he stood in front of represent the values of love, of justice, of compassion, and of a way to heal our hurts,” he said.
“We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media