For some, President Donald Trump committed a truly appalling act by walking from the White House to a church, then holding up a Bible. It could become an iconic image.
Tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and shields were used to move protesters out of a park to allow President Trump to walk to St John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. He was most definitely not invited.
"Let me be clear: The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for," Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde told CNN.
"And to do so ... he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard. I am outraged," Bishop Budde said.
But Mr Trump, though probably more certainly his advisers, likely does not really care about the thinking of an Episcopalian bishop or, for what it is worth, a woman. He is thinking re-election amid the protests, the riots, the looting, the shooting, the pandemic and the wrecked economy - and the raised Bible is a message to the vast number of evangelicals and other Christian supporters out there in the United States: Stay onside.
Mr Trump, and his team, will feel they already can retain the support of his other base - mostly white, many of them poor and struggling, now more so with the pandemic.
His people will calculate his militaristic, law-and-order rhetoric directed at an array of enemies - including Democrats in power at state level, others on the left and the majority of people living in the major urban areas, black, Hispanic and white - will play fine. Some supporters, both religious and others, believe he is a pretty vile human being, a barbarian at the gate - but he is their barbarian.
Anyone with a passing knowledge of the history of the US will know it has boiled in conflict and violence for much of its time. And periodically exploded. This is not new.
Race, slavery, discrimination has often been at the centre of these conflicts but inequality, too, no matter what colour. It is a hamster wheel where many people have to keep going, going just to survive. It may get even harder.
Mr Trump is either the epitome or a symptom of the American experience over the last three to four decades. As president of the US, he is, and has been, uniquely positioned to move his country, and the globe, in a particular direction.
But, as one US friend, a theologian, said yesterday: "Beware, the American experience is on an uncharted course and there may be monsters ahead."
Others are more downbeat and say the monsters - and speaking of Trump as only a part - are here.
But no matter what, many absolutely still, and always will, believe in those "amazing" ideals of freedom and democracy laid down by the founders of this crazy, beautiful, tumultuous, flawed country.
John Breslin is a Northern Ireland-born journalist who has worked in the US for the last 13 years. He is based in Belfast and Chicago.