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Rose Hudson-Wilkin: Bishop slams Donald Trump for bible pose

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image copyrightDiocese of Canterbury
image captionThe Rev Dr Hudson-Wilkin said the US president was wrong to use a "religious backdrop"

The Church of England's first female black bishop has criticised President Donald Trump for "posing" with a bible as civil unrest continues.

The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin said the photo shoot in Washington was "inappropriate" and "unacceptable".

The death in police custody of George Floyd prompted protests across the US.

Mr Trump was pictured outside St John's Episcopal Church, near the White House, after saying he planned to "dominate the streets" and end civil unrest.

The Bishop of Dover called on the US president to instead engage with people who are "crying out 'I can't breathe'".

Rev Hudson-Wilkin said Mr Trump was wrong to use a "religious backdrop as if to give affirmation to his perspective".

'Cry for justice'

"The god that I worship and serve isn't interested in our religiosity," she said. "God is interested in whether we feed the hungry, clothe naked, in whether we look after those who are most vulnerable in society.

"Posing with the bible is not engaging with those things."

While there was "no excuse" for the violence and looting seen in some parts of the US, Rev Hudson-Wilkin said protesters were "giving voice to the voiceless".

"What we are seeing is a cry for justice," she said. "[Mr Trump] would be better off sitting down at a round table and engaging with the structural racism that has over the years continued to contribute to a people being so disenfranchised."

Rev Hudson-Wilkin said when she first saw a clip of Mr Floyd pinned to the ground she was left "screaming at these police officers get up of the man, he can't breathe".

Asked what she would say to Mr Trump if she could address him directly, Rev Hudson-Wilkin said: "Get down of your high horse, get out of your privileged bubble and listen and hear and respond to the needs of those who are crying out 'I can't breathe'."

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