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Washington National Cathedral Slams Trump: “Have We No Decency?”

Photograph by Flickr user Brook Ward.

Donald Trump has gotten into fights with brutalism, vaccines, light bulbs, and Scottish wind power. Now he has a new opponent: Washington National Cathedral.

In an article published on the cathedral’s website Tuesday, Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, dean of the cathedral Randolph Marshall Hollerith, and canon theologian Kelly Brown Douglas blasted the President for his racist comments about Baltimore, immigrants’ home countries, and US Representative Elijah E. Cummings.

“We have come to accept as normal a steady stream of language and accusations coming from the highest office in the land that plays to racist elements in society,” Budde, Hollerith, and Douglas write, comparing Trump to disgraced US Senator Joseph McCarthy. Trump’s words “are more than a ‘dog-whistle,'” they write. “[T]hey are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. 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.”

As faith leaders, they write, “To stay silent in the face of such rhetoric is for us to tacitly condone the violence of these words.”

Trump has visited the cathedral several times while President. He attended a interfaith service there after he was sworn in in 2017, and came to George H.W. Bush‘s funeral and  took in a Christmas Eve service there last December. John McCain‘s family made a point of not inviting Trump to the US Senator’s funeral there last September.

This isn’t the first time the cathedral has criticized the President. It has published statements blasting his decision to ban transgender people from the military, his policies that separate families at the southern border, and to weaken a provision of the US tax code that prohibits churches from endorsing candidates.

If Trump returns the fire, it won’t be the first time he’s taken on a major religious institution. Remember when he got into a spat with the pope?

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.