There’s an eleven o’clock curfew in New York City after last night’s violence by the police and the looting of some luxury stores by cretins. I flipped on the news and joined the nation in watching a moment of political theater so demented it boggles the soul. The President of the United States stood in the Rose Garden and declared himself the “president of law and order” while the police tear-gassed and flash-bombed a crowd of peaceful protestors to clear a path to a church across the street. Then our president stood before the damaged doors of St. John’s for ten seconds, waving a Bible in the air, possibly upside down.

A chorus of bishops, priests, and pastors condemned the president for using violence to get to church. Some of these religious leaders were among the tear-gassed. For too long Christendom has given spiritual cover to America’s ugliest impulses, and I pray this is the beginning of a Reformation.

A few hours later, UH-72 Lakota and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters descended on American citizens in a “show of force,” a military term-of-art for kicking up enough debris, noise, and dirt to frighten people away. To scare away the people asking the police to stop murdering black citizens. Cameras followed tense crowds while reporters discussed possible clashes and looting, as if willing violence into existence. A news anchor said, “We are descending into something that is not the United States of America tonight.” I’m not sure if this is true.