One of two Georgia Democrats gunning for a Senate seat in the state’s general election run-off holds some particularly shocking views on the faith of U.S. servicemen.
In a 2011 sermon, Pastor Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and won 32.9% of the vote in Georgia’s Senate special election among a field of 20 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, told churchgoers nobody can serve both “God and the Military.”
According to Fox News, “Warnock made the remarks in a sermon in April 2011 entitled ‘When Truth Meets Power.’ The address resurfaced Tuesday on social media.”
In the 26-second clip shared by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Warnock preached, “America, nobody can serve God and the military. You can’t serve God and money. You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. America, choose ye this day who you will serve. Choose ye this day.”
“Politicians try to keep their power. Political parties lie in order to keep their power,” the Democratic Senate hopeful continued. “And church folk, yeah, you too, maneuver…in order to keep your power. And Jesus says, that’s not power. That’s paranoia.”
“Because when you’ve got real power, you’re not worrying about your place in the world. You know how to be exalted and you know how to be abased. You know how to sit high and you know how to sit low and you’re not worried about your place in the world because you’re connected with something that’s greater than you and you’re concerned about something that’s greater than yourself.”
“When you have real power, Jesus says that you’ll lay it down so that somebody else can have some power. Real power will lay itself down on behalf of the powerless,” Warnock continued in a segment not included in NRSC’s clip.
Warnock’s assertion that soldiers cannot serve in the military while serving God, questioning the faith of every serviceman, and contending businessmen, entrepreneurs, and millions of career driven Americans are somehow less Christian for their efforts to perform economically unsurprisingly drew in criticism from Republicans.
Incumbent Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) fired back at the sermon, tweeting “I’m the daughter & granddaughter of veterans, and proud to serve on the VA Committee. @ReverendWarnock — this is despicable, disgusting, and wrong.”
“You owe our active military & veterans — who sacrifice so much for our country — an immediate apology,” Loeffler added.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also brought light to Warnock’s sermon, saying “not shocked #Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Raphael Warnock said ‘You cannot serve God and the military’ at the same time. These & even crazier things is what the radicals who control the Democratic party’s activist & small dollar donor base believe.”
“This is a disgrace,” Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) said before calling for the Democratic party to condone Warnock’s statements. “Every Senate Democrat should be asked whether they agree with Warnock. Every. Single. One.”
Following Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Warnock was recorded saying “America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness,” during a sermon.
“Warnock’s views on defense aren’t clear, as the issue isn’t listed on his campaign site and he hasn’t in recent days spoken out on it,” Fox added.
Warnock’s campaign fired back in a statement to Fox, insisting the statement was out of context and represents a widely accepted biblical belief.
“This sermon is based on a biblical verse that reads ‘No man can serve two masters… Ye cannot serve God and mammon,’ a biblical term for wealth,” Terrence Clark, communications director for the Warnock campaign, said in a statement to Fox News. “Reverend Warnock was speaking about the need to commit to moral life before pursuing other priorities. As the video of the congregation’s response makes clear, this is another blatant effort by Kelly Loeffler to take Reverend Warnock’s words completely out of context. Given her own decision to spend her first days in the U.S. Senate profiting off the pandemic, perhaps she should watch the sermon more closely.”
Senator David Perdue (R-GA), who’s also participating in a runoff election against Jon Ossoff after failing to garner a majority of the vote earlier this month despite a 2% lead over his Democratic challenger, was “outraged” by Warnock’s sermon, calling for the pastor to “immediately apologize.”
“Thousands of Georgians serve in our Armed Forces, proudly protecting our nation with dignity and honor. They deserve to be treated with respect. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am outraged by @ReverendWarnock’s comments,” Sen. Perdue tweeted.
Without directly referencing the statements in question, Warnock tweeted “I am glad that Senator @KLoeffler is listening to my sermons. One of my favorite sermons is entitled ‘Love your neighbor’,” before criticizing Loeffler’s healthcare position.
With Republicans winning 50 seats on November 3rd, either Perdue or Loeffler must win Jan. 3rd if Republicans want to maintain control of the Senate. Otherwise, with a 50-50 split, presumed Vice President elect Kamala Harris would have the tie-breaking vote if support for a bill was split along party lines. Both Perdue and Loeffler are favored to win as of now.