A church installs a Black Lives Matter banner ahead of pro-Trump protests in Washington, DC

A Washington, DC, church unveiled a massive Black Lives Matter banner Wednesday morning to take a stand against violence just hours before a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol.

The National City Christian Church erected the 16-foot banner ahead of protests over Congress certifying the election for President-elect Joe Biden.
“As followers of Jesus Christ, we reject the president’s call to violence and continue to proclaim that Black Lives Matter,” the church’s interim senior minister, Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We oppose the ideals of white supremacy and white Christian nationalism, and declare that our church will continue to be a place of peace and healing.”
    The church staff left the church and the city following the direction of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who asked people to avoid the downtown area, Rev. Butler said in a video Wednesday.
    “The National Guard and D.C. police are here and are watching National City very closely and are very serious about protecting the church so we’re grateful for that and grateful for the witness that this church is making this moment,” Butler said in the video.
    Previous pro-Trump protests in the city resulted in some places of worship being vandalized and their Black Lives Matter signs stolen and even burned. Two historic Black churches, Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, were affected.
    The leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, was arrested Monday in Washington, DC, for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a Black church last month during protests in the city after a “Stop the Steal” rally.
    The sign burning came during a protest in Washington that saw at least four people stabbed and at least 33 arrested. Large groups of protesters and counter-protesters had gathered earlier in the day outside the Supreme Court building and at Freedom Plaza to protest the presidential election results.
    National City Christian Church’s Black Lives Matter banner was ripped from the fence of its outdoor chapel during a previous protest, the church said.
    “With thousands of President Donald J. Trump supporters and self-proclaimed white nationalists descending on the streets of the nation’s capital, National City Christian Church will once again, as has been its long-storied history, stand boldly for the civil rights and freedoms of black and brown American people,” the church said in the statement.
      The banners replaced ones showing a poem from South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth. “One Hundred Thousand Names” was written to express the grief of the people lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
      The church is the national church for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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