Leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have condemned the Trump campaign for running an ad that uses footage of presidential hopeful Joe Biden kneeling in the sanctuary of a Black church after attempting to tie him to violent protesters.
Rev Silvester S Beaman, the pastor of Bethel AME Church who is featured in the video, told Religion News Service (RNS) that the ad is "overtly racist and offensive on numerous levels" and portrays Black church leaders and their congregations as “thuggish rule breakers".
Following a montage of images depicting the violent protests that have taken place in recent weeks across America, the ad in question features a final image of Biden kneeling with the pastor and member of his church - Vice President Mike Pence's voice can then be heard declaring over the footage: "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."
A final text message flashes across the screen, warning: “Stop Joe Biden and his rioters”.
Leaders of the AME denomination have also denounced the ad, saying that it "subtly incites white terrorism against people of color and attacks the Black Church and Black people for refusing to bow down to the idol called white supremacy".
Beaman added that it is a "racist attack on the African American church" and should be "offensive to every Christian and person of faith".
In response, a Trump campaign spokesperson told US political outlet The Hill that the allegations of racism were "absurd" and "shameful".