Statement on St. John's Church Photo-op

The Bible is not a prop on a political stage

The Bible is a sacred text for over a billion Christians around the world. Our churches are sacred sites for worship. The Bible is not a prop on a political stage.

On Monday evening, June 1, President Donald Trump asserted his authority to pervert the use of our sacred scriptures and violated the purposes of holy space. His action was an affront to the Christian community.

The President authorized the use of federal government power to disrupt the pastoral ministries of clergy and laity from St. John’s Episcopal Church using the Church for a photo opportunity.

With the use of the security personnel, senior members of his administration and Cabinet officers, he occupied the property of St. John’s Church. He used the St. John’s Church building and its signage to create the appearance of Christian endorsement of his views, as he raised a Bible as if it were a political decoration rather than as a sacred text to be read and studied prayerfully.

In addition to deploying the Bible as a prop for his calls for “law and order,” he failed to acknowledge the purpose of the protests or mention the name of Mr. George Floyd whose memory was the focus of the protests. Furthermore, the Holy Bible does not legitimize militarized police or calls for law and order.

We are grateful for the faithful witness of our sister, Mariann E. Budde, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Washington who has decried this shameful abuse of a house of worship.

Today we stand in solidarity with all people of faith and our Christian sisters and brothers working to eradicate racism, white supremacy, violence and injustice.