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Bishop Budde to Give Benediction at DNC Tuesday

By Kirk Petersen

The bishop who expressed outrage when President Donald Trump staged a controversial photo op on June 1 will have a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention. But don’t expect a partisan message.

Bishop Mariann Budde | Facebook

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington, is one of a number of faith leaders who will take part in the convention. She will give the benediction for Tuesday evening’s proceedings, scheduled for 9 to 11 pm Eastern time.

Cheryl Wilburn, executive assistant to the bishop, said the benediction will be a brief prayer for unity, and has been pre-recorded.

“I am outraged,” Budde said in an interview on CNN June 2, the day after Trump held a Bible in the air while posing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from the White House. To enable the president to walk across the street, law enforcement personnel in riot gear used tear gas to clear a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters.

“The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus, and everything that our churches stand for,” Budde said.

She told anchor Anderson Cooper: “The president did not pray, when he came to St. John’s, nor, as you just articulated, did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now, and in particular of the people of color in our nation, who wonder if anyone ever – anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred worth, and who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.”

St. John’s had been in the news after an arsonist set a fire May 31 that destroyed one room in the basement, but otherwise caused little serious damage.

On August 19, the DNC is scheduled to formally nominate Joe Biden as the party’s candidate for president. It will be a convention like no other, held entirely online, with some speeches prerecorded and others live-streamed.

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