“This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read…”

President Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John’s Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House on Monday night, June 1, 2020, after riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear away protesters. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night.(Patrick Semansky, The Dallas Morning News)

I’ll be honest with you. I felt the need to at least wash my hands after posting this photo of the man who’s currently playing the role of US president. I felt compelled to post it because, in this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

The Tweets below by Robert Hendrickson, Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona, about sum it up about Dear Leader’s tawdry publicity stunt and who he is as a human being. It reminds me of Candidate Trump’s laughable quote at a January 2016 speech at Liberty University, no less: Two Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. … Is that the one you like? Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And, of course, Bill Maher’s reference (2:35) to “Two Corinthians walk into a bar…”

Bonus: Statement from Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Diocese of Washington

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 and everything that our churches stand for. And to do so, as you just said, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard. I am outraged. The president did not pray when he came to St. John’s, nor as you just articulated did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now and in particular that of the people of color in our nation who wonder if anyone ever, anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred worth, and who are rightfully demanding an end of 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country. And I just want the world to know, we in the Diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love, do not, we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this president. We follow someone who led 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, and I just can’t believe what my eyes have seen tonight.

Bishop Mariann’s Response to President Trump (1.6.20)

Bishop Budde on Trump’s ‘inflammatory’ rhetoric and how he can help the nation heal (2.6.20)

Street art in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

2 thoughts on ““This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read…”

  1. From the Facebook timeline of someone who was there:

    Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protesters off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!

    I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protesters throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLEGROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protester, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.

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