In response to the staging of a photocall by US President Donald Trump outside an episcopal church yesterday, the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church has joined in condemnation of what it believes is a “blatant mis-use of both a church building and holy scripture”.
President Trump held up a Bible for media photographers in front of St John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C., shortly after crowds were cleared from the area by police using tear gas and rubber bullets. Protesters have taken to the streets across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis last week.
The President’s action has been condemned by church leaders in the United States, and the College of Bishops has written to Bishop Michael Curry, Primate of The Episcopal Church in the United States, to express its support.
The letter says:
Dear Bishop Michael and Bishops of The Episcopal Church
We, the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church, have watched the news reports on the protests being made across the USA in light of the death of an American citizen killed while in police custody. The horrific scene, as caught on camera, offends all of us.
We then witnessed the blatant misuse of both a church building and holy scripture in the pursuit of political gain – in circumstances where the President of the USA had only managed to stand in front of the church because his officers had cleared a pathway through peaceful protesters by the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
The message of the Church and the Bible is about love and equality and all sharing in the bounty of a generous God. Nothing we witnessed last night by the President represented that.
May we thank you for your careful and loving words and for the determination of the Bishop of Washington and many others to call this out, to say “not in the name of the Church or in the name of God”.
We wish to offer you our prayers and whatever support we can in helping your people find a path towards freedom and equality for all, regardless of race.
Most Rev. Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Right Rev. Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll & The Isles, Bishop elect of Glasgow & Galloway
Right Rev. Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh
Right Rev. Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney
Right Rev. Andrew Swift, Bishop of Brechin
Right Rev. Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane