By Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - President Donald Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington this week has been condemned by nine Episcopal bishops from New England as “disgraceful and morally repugnant.”

Trump visited the cathedral Monday after law enforcement cleared the area of protesters with tear gas and flash bangs, and held up a Bible.

The church had suffered minor damage during protests against the killing of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died after a police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes.

“Simply by holding aloft an unopened Bible he presumed to claim Christian endorsement and imply that of the Episcopal Church,” the bishops said in a joint statement Tuesday.

“Far more disturbingly, he seemed to be affecting the authority of the God and Savior we worship and serve, in order to support his own authority and to wield enhanced use of military force in a perverted attempt to restore peace to our nation,” the statement said.

The statement was signed by Connecticut Bishop Suffragan Laura Ahrens; Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas; Maine Bishop Thomas James Brown; Massachusetts Bishop Alan Gates; Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris; New Hampshire Bishop Robert Hirschfeld; Rhode Island Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely; Vermont Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown; and Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher.

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