“I AM OUTRAGED! I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT MY EYES HAVE SEEN THIS EVENING.” – Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington Mariann Edgar Budde’s response to the President’s actions: “The President just used a Bible and one of the churches of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard of peaceful protesters.
I am outraged!
The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s; nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.
We in the Diocese of Washington follow Jesus in His Way of Love. We aspire to be people of peace and advocates of justice. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. In faithfulness to our Savior who lived a life of non-violence and sacrificial love, we align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others through the sacred act of peaceful protest.”
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticized President Donald Trump on Monday for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters. The Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese St. John’s belongs to, said she was “outraged” by Trump’s visit and noted that he didn’t pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.
“The president also did not “acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country,” Budde said in a statement posted to the diocese’s Facebook account after Trump’s televised visit.
The Rev. Gini Gerbasi, Rector of St. John’s, said the clergy was given no warning Trump was coming. She told WUSA she was wearing her clergy collar when she was forced off the property due to the tear gas.
She accused the president of trying to “look Christian” by holding a Bible in front of the church.
“It would be far more Christian if he would behave according to the words in that book rather than carrying it around as a prop,” Gerbasi said.
Written by Lea Gilmore based on Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde’s interview with CNN.