On Monday, May 25, an African American man named George Floyd was killed at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People across the country began to cry out for justice, demanding that the police officers be arrested and charged with Floyd’s murder. Protests began and have continued, with tens of thousands of people uniting to cry out that Black Lives Matter, demanding that systems of racism and injustice be dismantled and all perpetrators of racial violence be brought to justice.
As part of his response to the protests, President Donald Trump has called for law and order, demanding that governors and mayors get control of their states and suggesting that he may send the military to squelch protests if governors don’t act. On Monday, June 1, peaceful protestors outside the White House were hit with flash-bang explosions and doused with tear gas to disperse them so that President Trump could pose for a photo with a Bible in front of Saint John’s Church in Washington. This has sparked outrage from many church leaders, including Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, and the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, Rev. John Dorhauer.
As the pastoral team of Central Union Church, we too are outraged that our faith is being weaponized. We too are angry that our scriptures are being used a prop. We gathered together for conversation and support and we invite you to listen, reflect, and share with us how you are feeling, too.
Today, we discussed our reactions when we first heard this news and saw the photo of President Trump at Saint John’s Church. How did you feel when you first saw the photo? What emotions did it raise for you?