Dear Bishop Budde,
As a former priest in the Diocese of Washington, I understand the unique role played in the nation's life by our cathedral. It stands at that uneasy intersection between church and state, providing a central space for the nation to observe important moments in our common life. Funerals of presidents and dignitaries have been held there, the worship following the 9/11 attacks, and also prayer services at presidential inaugurations. It is a relic of our Constantinian Christendom that these secular, civic events get shrouded in the canopy of divine blessing by housing them in our Episcopal cathedral.
I think this is the time to stop uncritically supporting our nation by granting the privilege of the sacred canopy to its leaders. Donald Trump may be our elected next president, but he is opposed to everything Jesus stands for -- he is a living, breathing violator of every line in our Baptismal Covenant. He does not respect the dignity of every human being (women, Muslims, handicapped people, immigrants, etc.). He does not seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving his neighbor as himself (witness his behavior to the CNN reporter yesterday). His personal life, what we know of it, is one of sexual immorality. He has been married three times, he has openly lusted after his own daughter in public ...
Regardless of whether or not he is equipped to be the President of the United States, as an emblem of our nation, he is so outside the bounds of human decency, so opposed to the very love of neighbor that Jesus stood for, that I cannot see how we -- as followers of Jesus -- can grant him the blessing of our sacred space.
This has always been a conflict lurking at the heart of the cathedral's identity and purpose. It took someone as blatantly coarse, hateful, divisive, and incendiary as Donald Trump to bring this conflict of church and state into the clear light of day.
I am begging you this time ... to end this uneasy alliance between church and state. Instead of being "the National Cathedral," maybe it is time to live into the cathedral's true identity -- the Cathedral Church of Sts. Peter and Paul -- both of whom were martyred by an empire for calling people to a standard higher than that of the empire.
Kit Carlson +