A day after President Donald Trump drew outrage for posing in front of Washington DC’s St. John’s Episcopal Church holding a Bible, the Trumps posed for photos in front of a statue of Saint Pope John Paul II outside the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, a place of prayer for Catholics. The move was swiftly denounced by a top Catholic church official. Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said in a statement:
“I find it baffling that and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”
Critics criticized the President the day before after police used tear gas and physical force on protesters in Lafayette Park, clearing a path for the president to walk to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. The show of force came half an hour before a 7 p.m. curfew was to take effect following protests over the death of George Floyd. Mariann E. Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, told reporters she was outraged by the use of a Bible for a photo op violent the violent clash.
“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.”
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, also denounced the President’s act.
“When peaceful protesters are dispersed by the order of the president from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House – using tear gas and flash grenades – in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle.”