Following a violent rally in Washington, D.C., the Very Rev. Randolph MarshallHollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, and the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, issued the following statement:
The racist and religious overtones surrounding the effort to discredit the presidential election were on ugly display in downtown Washington on Saturday night, just blocks from the White House.
After a pro-Trump rally that aimed to overturn the will of the people in the presidential election, demonstrators and members of the Proud Boys ripped down Black Lives Matter banners outside two historically Black congregations, Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan AME Church. In a chilling scene, one was set on fire as crowds chanted profanities.
We reject the version of Christianity that seeks to provide a mantle of spiritual authority to the poison of White nationalism. Religious leaders who bless these rallies, or lend their voice to the effort to subvert democracy, make a mockery of our faith. What we are witnessing is nothing less than idolatry–the worship of someone other than God as though he were God.
The blatant racism of this lost cause is alarming. The senior pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church was right to call the burning of her church’s banner a new version of cross burnings. White hoods have given way to black-and-gold militarism. Such hatred grieves the very heart of God, and we cannot turn a blind eye to such displays of white supremacy.
We believe that Black Lives Matter because Black lives matter to God. The Proud Boys and their hatred are not welcome here.
For us at Washington National Cathedral and throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, this is the season of Advent, in which we wait in expectation for the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. This we know: God’s Kingdom is built with open hearts, not clenched fists. Its streets are paved with the living stones of love and justice. Racism and hatred have no place in God’s Kingdom, and we will grant them no home in our city.
The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith
Dean of Washington National Cathedral