On Monday night, President Donald Trump gave a speech in the Rose Garden saying he would bring in the military to quell continuing riots following the killing of George Floyd.
Minutes later, tear gas was used to remove peaceful protesters outside the White House in Lafayette Square, including clergy from St John’s Episcopalian church, who were in their church yard next to the square, handing out water, snacks and and sanitizer to protesters.
As snipers took position, Donald Trump walked over the road from the White House to St John’s church, where standing outside, he held up a Bible for a photo opportunity.
This has caused outrage.
The Bishop of Washington, Mariann Budde, tweeted:
“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.”
James Martin, a Jesuit Priest and consultant to the Vatican’s communications department, tweeted:
“Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything.”
Michael Gerson, speechwriter to George Bush
A truly sacrilegious use of the Bible to bless a brutal stunt.
Bob Smetiana, Editor in Chief of the Religion News Service, told us:
“The police tear gassed a peaceful protest and drove a clergy person off the church property so the President could come out with his Bible, right after declaring he was going to have the military come out. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this. Religion was not at the centre of this protest – it is now, because the President has made it the centre. I don’t know what it’s going to do for his support.
“We are worried about how things will develop. We have Covid19, 100,000 people dead, now we have tens of millions of people out of work, public unrest and a president who is confrontational in nature. Our president is not a person of nuance and was talking to governors saying ‘you have to dominate them on the streets’. Things could go really badly here.”