In his first public statement, the new archbishop of Washington, D.C. called out President Donald Trump specifically, criticizing him for “diminishing our national life.”
“I fear that recent public comments by our President and others and the responses they have generated, have deepened divisions and diminished our national life,” Wilton Gregory, the only current black archbishop in the U.S., said in a Thursday interview with the Catholic Standard. “In particular, I join my brother Archbishop William Lori in sadness and deep regret for the ways our Maryland neighbors in Baltimore have been denigrated in recent public attacks.”
It’s not the first time this week that Trump has been on the receiving end of some holy fire.
The leadership team from the Episcopal National Cathedral in D.C. put out a statement on Tuesday even more damning in its denunciation of Trump’s attacks on Baltimore and House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“These words are more than a ‘dog-whistle.’ When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America,” they wrote in a statement. “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 leaders of faith who believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over,” they continued. “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. We must say that this will not be tolerated.”
Trump has remained very popular with some Christian sects, like Evangelicals, but those denominations hew more closely to a Republican ideology in general.
Catholics are much more politically split — according to Pew, 44 percent of Catholics identify as Democratic to 37 percent Republican. As an example, the Catholic viewpoint – that taken and taught by the church’s hierarchy — is famously pro-life, but also has great sympathy toward the immigrant’s plight and puts heavy emphasis on social justice for the poor and marginalized.
Catholics also comprise a massive voting bloc: about 22 percent of eligible voters identify as part of the church.