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President Donald Trump on Monday reportedly used federal police to tear-gas Christian priests, along with hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered to demand an end to police brutality against Black Americans.
Clergy were passing out water and snacks to protesters in front of St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, an Episcopal parish in Washington, D.C., before law enforcement officials in riot gear reportedly fired tear gas and flash-bangs to disperse the crowd so that Trump could walk to the church for a photo-op. Lafayette Square is a park that lies directly north of the White House.
Rev. Gini Gerbasi, rector of a different St. John’s Episcopal Church in the city, said she and seminarian Julia Joyce Domenick were tear-gassed and driven off of church property by police.
“I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police - in full riot gear - drove people toward us,” Gerbasi wrote in a Facebook post late Monday night.
The patio of the church had been “holy ground” and a place of rest for protesters, Gerbasi said, but Trump turned it into a “battle ground” and a “cheap political stunt.”
The Bible teaches us to love God and our neighbor; that all people are beloved children of God; that we are to do justice and love kindness. The President used our sacred text as a symbol of division.— Mariann Budde (@Mebudde) June 2, 2020
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