Religious Leaders Condemn Trump’s Actions

Numerous faith leaders are sharply criticizing President Trump's photo-op outside of a Washington, D.C. church Monday after forcibly removing protesters from the area, saying he used the Bible as "a prop" to further his political agenda. NBC's Alice Barr reports.

(NBC News) — A group of black ministers raised their voices against racial injustice outside St. John’s Church across from the White House Tuesday, joining the chorus of criticism over President Trump’s Monday photo op.

Mr. Trump posed in front of the church, holding a Bible, after police used tear gas, smoke grenades and projectiles to clear peaceful protesters out of the way.

“We stand today outraged with President Trump’s use of the military against peaceful protesters,” Reverend George Gilbert, Jr. of Washington’s Holy Trinity United Baptist Church said.

The Episcopal bishop who oversees the church accused President Trump of using the Bible as a prop.

“It was an abuse of the spiritual tools and symbols of our traditions,” said Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.

On Tuesday the president and first lady visited a Catholic shrine, making no remarks and again posing for photos next to a statue of Saint John Paul II.

That appearance was also condemned by a prominent Jesuit priest.

“These symbols are being used for political purposes,” said Father James Martin, editor at large for America Magazine.

“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,” Martin added.

At the same time, Democratic governors are speaking out against President Trump’s threat to deploy the military in cities across the country to quell looting and rioting.

“Being determined to work together to solve these problems is what we need more than anything right now. Not division, not threats of military,” said Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, meanwhile, is seeking to draw a contrast between himself and the man he wants to replace.

“I won’t fan the flames of hate,” Biden told supporters. “I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country ”

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