The bishop who delivered a passionate sermon about love at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has joined criticism of Donald Trump after the US president cleared peaceful protesters aside to pose outside a church with a bible.
Trump’s actions have sparked outrage from church leaders around the world, as they call for unity with black people demanding change after the death of George Floyd.
Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, said Trump used the bible for “partisan political purposes” after peaceful protesters were dispersed with tear gas and flash bangs so he could stand outside St John’s Church for photographs.
In a series of tweets, the bishop said: “In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.
“This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us.
“The bible teaches us that ‘God is love.’ Jesus of Nazareth taught, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The prophet Micah taught that the Lord requires us to ‘do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’
“The bible the President held up and the church that he stood in front of represent the values of love, of justice, of compassion, and of a way to heal our hurts.
“We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values.
“For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’”
The posts have garnered tens of thousands of likes and retweets each.
Bishop Curry is well-remembered for his sermon during the royal wedding of 2018, which caused some smirking from the Royal Family who are unlikely to have heard anything like it delivered in St George’s Chapel.
He spoke about love and quoted Dr Martin Luther King Jr, saying: “I quote: 'We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way’.”
Protests have continued across America in the wake of the death of Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.
He told officers he could not breathe but received no respite.
Trump has condemned the death but said peaceful protests could not be drowned out by an “angry mob” and has threatened tough action.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of St John’s in Washington DC, said she was “outraged” at the photo opportunity taken by Trump.
In a statement she said: “The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s; nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.
“We in the Diocese of Washington follow Jesus in His Way of Love. We aspire to be people of peace and advocates of justice. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. In faithfulness to our Savior who lived a life of non-violence and sacrificial love, we align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others through the sacred act of peaceful protest.”