A number of Oxford college chaplains have responded to President Donald Trump's bible photo op by posting pictures of themselves holding up Bibles in support of Black Lives Matter.
Hertford College chaplain Mia Smith was the first to post a photo, which showed her holding aloft a Bible in one hand, with the other clasping a poster which read: "In case there’s any doubt: This book says Black Lives Matter.”
Trump came under heavy criticism after ordering the clearing of protesters from outside the White House so he could march to St. John's church and be snapped by the press while holding up a Bible. Many described it as a political stunt that undermined the value and integrity of the Word of God.
Smith told The Cherwell newspaper: “When I saw the sickening photo of Trump instrumentalising the Bible and the Church in a political manner, I felt an overwhelming desire to speak healing and truth into the mess.
“It’s hard to know what to say in the face of such injustice but grabbed my Bible, printed off the message I wished a President would say: ‘If there’s any doubt: this book says Black Lives Matter’ and drove to College for my socially distanced protest photo.”
Several other chaplains have since followed her lead and posted photos of themselves.
Smith added: “Chaplains are uniquely placed to work in both the pastoral and the prophetic spheres. The pastoral welfare side is really important for those who are grieving, angry, and losing hope. Many of our BME students are hurting and unsettled by recent events, and offering safe spaces to share, to cry, and to express anger is vital.
“The prophetic role of Chaplains is to call out injustice, racism, fear, hate and indifference. Speaking the truth to power can be a costly part of our role, but the office of Chaplain requires it.”