St. John’s Church declares support for Black Lives Matter movement

Rev. Robert Fisher, rector of St. John’s Church, and The Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, right, depart after speaking Wednesday, June 3, 2020, down the block from the church that is across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

St. John’s Church is speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after being used as a backdrop for President Donald Trump’s photo op with a Bible in Lafayette Square.

In a letter, the church announced it will display a banner in support of Black Lives Matter.

“We must speak out and work to make sure that justice and equity is extended to all people,” the letter reads.

The banner quotes the Bible:

And what does the LORD require of you 
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

It’s a decision St. John’s Church calls a small step in a long and proud tradition of standing against racism.

“Since the senseless murder of George Floyd on May 25, we have all seen the protests that started in Minneapolis quickly spread throughout the country and around the world. St. John’s has stood as the backdrop for some of these protests,” the letter reads.

The church said the decision was made after a vote was taken, making clear the importance of declaring where the congregation stands.

“At the end, we put the matter to a vote. Now, we proudly say, ‘Black Lives Matter,'” the letter ends.

Last week, the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Bishop Mariann Budde, criticized President Trump’s response to the protests and his use of force against demonstrators in Lafayette Square to clear the area for his photo op, calling the moving “antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.”

Budde said in a statement 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.”

St. John’s church was damaged by fire during one protest.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.

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