Bishop Budde calls Trump photo at St. John’s Church ‘antithetical to the teachings of Jesus’

The head of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has responded after President Donald Trump held a Bible and had his photo taken in front of St. John’s Church on Monday after police used tear gas to clear out protesters.

Bishop Mariann Budde has spoken in support of those engaging in peaceful protest and criticized Trump’s response to the protests that have gripped the nation following the death of George Floyd.

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President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Budde said that Trump allowed the use of tear gas by police in order to use St. John’s Episcopal Church as a backdrop for a “message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for.”

The church was damaged by fire during Sunday night’s protest.

Budde said in a statement Monday night that the diocese in no way supports Trump’s “incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation.”

The diocese expressed support for those seeking justice for Floyd through the “sacred act of peaceful protest.”

Floyd was an African American man who was killed last week in Minneapolis after a white police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck while taking him into custody.

Budde said Trump used the Bible as a “symbol of division,” and he did not come to the church to pray, lament Floyd’s death or acknowledge the plight of people of color.

Before police under federal command forced back peaceful demonstrators with tear gas so he could walk to the church and have his photo taken, Trump threatened the nation’s governors that he would deploy the military to states if they did not stamp out violent protests over police brutality that have roiled the nation over the past week.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the use of munitions on protesters near the White House “shameful,” and the Arlington County board ordered county police to withdraw from the District following the incident.

Budde is the first woman to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which has 88 Episcopal congregations and 10 Episcopal schools in D.C. and four Maryland counties.

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Members of the National Guard block an intersection on Monday night.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Protesters holds their hands up as a military helicopter flies low pushing a strong vertical down wash of air (rotor wash) onto the crowd during a protest over the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. – President Donald Trump vowed Monday to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

D.C. Police hold a line along M Street, blocking a group of protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue from entering Georgetown. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Police blocked a group of protesters between 14th and 15th St. NW at Swann St.

Helicopters flew low late on Monday night in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood after a small number of demonstrators moved into the area. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Demonstrators wait in a police vehicle after being taken into custody as they protested the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. The arrests occurred after a curfew went into effect in Washington.

With tears in her eyes, a demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Demonstrators react as a helicopter circles low as people gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A military Humvee blocks an intersection along K Street in downtown Washington as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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President Donald Trump walks from the White House through Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s Church Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Police begin to clear demonstrators gathered as they protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Police prepare transport vehicles for people who they arrest during protests over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

U.S. Park Police string security tape around Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Workmen board up the windows of a building ahead of demonstrations against the death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Secret Service officers stand on the roof of the West Wing while keeping watch on protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Secret Service walk past the White House as protests over the death of George Floyd continue on Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Police officers hold a perimeter near the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the killing of George Floyd on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Protesters take a knee and raise their fists in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020.

A cyclist rides pass an armored vehicle heading towards Lafayette Square on 16th Street, as people protest the death of George Floyd, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

A demonstrator walks by graffiti in Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

People protest the death of George Floyd near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd down the street from the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, outside Lafayette Square near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Vehicles for the D.C. National Guard are seen outside the D.C. Armory, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Protests have erupted across the U.S. to protest the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Shattered window and door glass is scattered on the floor inside Mervis Diamond Importers in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night of protests over the death of George Floyd.

A damaged cash machine is seen in Washington on I Street NW, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, during a news conference to announce a new 7 p.m. curfew for the city for the next two nights. Across the U.S., people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

An ATF officer walks out of Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

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A worker cleans graffiti off the AFL-CIO building on 16th Street NW in D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests.

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President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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