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Washington clerics condemn President’s ‘dangerous’ rhetoric

09 August 2019


President Trump at Washington National Cathedral last Christmas

President Trump at Washington National Cathedral last Christmas

PRESIDENT Trump’s words and actions are a “clarion call” to white supremacists, the Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd Mariann Budde, and the Dean of Washington, the Very Revd Randolph Hollerith, have said.

In a statement released by Washington National Cathedral last week, they, along with the cathedral’s Canon Theologian, Canon Kelly Brown Douglas, said: “We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us, especially when it comes from the highest offices of this nation.”

It came after the US President attacked the city of Baltimore as “very dangerous and filthy”, and “rat- and rodent-infested”. He also called its Congressman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, “a brutal bully”, and the majority-black district he represents, “disgusting”.

The Cathedral’s statement read: “Not only did he insult a leader in the fight for racial justice and equality for all persons; not only did he savage the nations from which immigrants to this country have come; but now he has condemned the residents of an entire American city. Where will he go from here?”

It called President Trump’s words “dangerous”, “violent”, and “dehumanizing”. It said: “They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation. Violent words lead to violent actions.”

It continued: “When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough? The question is less about the President’s sense of decency, but of ours. . .

“To stay silent in the face of such rhetoric is for us to tacitly condone the violence of these words. We are compelled to take every opportunity to oppose the indecency and dehumanization that is racism, whether it comes to us through words or actions.”

Last Sunday, the congregation at the cathedral applauded Canon Douglas when she made reference
to the statement. She said: “We challenge not simply the leadership of our nation — we challenge ourselves. . . to be better than we were the moment before.”

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