Words damn near fail me as I seek some understanding of what I witnessed Monday from the president of the United States of America.
Donald Trump delivered some chilling remarks about how he intends to deal with those who protest violently in response to the death of George Floyd, the man who died when Minneapolis police officers choked the life out of him. Trump vowed to bring the force of the U.S. military to bear on those who vandalize private property.
Then, trailing the advance guard of police officers in Washington, D.C., who cleared out some peaceful protesters near the White House, Trump traipsed over to John’s Episcopal Parish House that had been damaged in a riot the previous day. He was carrying a Bible, a book I am certain he hasn’t read.
He stood before the church — with its boarded-up windows and doors — and posed for pictures. He stood there for about 90 seconds brandishing the Holy Book, holding up over his head, staring down at it, looking oh, so solemn and somber.
The rector of the church, the Bishop Mariann Budde, called it a disgraceful display of political posturing. She said she is horrified that Donald Trump would use the church where she preaches as a political prop in that fashion.
Given the juxtaposition of Donald Trump’s message and his appearance at the historic church, I have to endorse Bishop Budde’s view that we all witnessed one of the most callous, callow and shallow displays of political pandering many of us have ever seen.
It was made even worse by the belief among millions of us that Donald Trump — unquestionably the most amoral man ever to hold the office of president — has not a scintilla of understanding of just how Jesus Christ himself would view what the rest of us saw.
It was disgusting in the extreme.