Religious leaders are speaking out against Donald Trump’s photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday night.
In an interview with Craig Melvin on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Rev. Mariann Budde said that what Trump did in front of the church she oversees “was an abuse of the spiritual tools and symbols of our traditions and of our sacred space.”
“He didn’t come to church to pray, he didn’t come to church to offer condolences to those who are grieving,” she said. “He didn’t come to commit to healing our nation, all the things that we would expect and long for from the highest leader in the land.”
The Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit priest and author, said in a statement, “Using the Bible as a prop while talking about sending in the military, bragging about how your country is the greatest in the world, and publicly mocking people on a daily basis, is pretty much the opposite of all Jesus stood for.”
He added: “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. And God is not a plaything.”
Then, Tuesday morning Trump and Melania’s visit to the John Paul II national shrine, was met with rebuke from DC’s Archbishop Gregory.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles…”
Gregory also says Trump’s actions do not square with John Paul II’s legacy: He “certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrence to silence, scatter, or intimate… for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”