Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) lambasted her Democratic Senate opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock for trying to lecture her on faith, saying the Pastor is someone who “used the bible to justify” attacking our military as well as justifying his stance on abortion.
“I’m a Christian, I’m a person of deep faith,” Loeffler said during the Georgia Senate runoff debate. “I don’t need a lecture from someone who has used the Bible to not only justify attacking our military. That’s not in Matthew 6:24. It doesn’t say you can’t serve the military and God, but he’s also used the Bible to justify abortion. I cannot stand by and let Georgians not know who my opponent is, how radical his views are and how he would fundamentally change our country. He’s out of step with Georgia’s values.”
Warnock, the senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church was clamored to defend the context of his controversial 2011 sermon where he claimed that people cannot “serve God and the military” at the same time.
“America, nobody can serve God and the military,” Warnock said in an address delivered from the pulpit back in April 2011 when he served as a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. “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.”
The fireworks began when Warnock alleged that Loeffler misrepresented a controversial sermon, claiming the remarks came from scripture. He went further to call the Senator’s attack a “cynical political argument,” and asserted had Loeffler “listened to the sermon,” instead of “trying to make a cheap political point,” it would have made her a “better senator” in terms of what he claims of helping Georgians amid the Coronavirus pandemic instead her own self-interest by raking millions.
“I was preaching that day from a very familiar Matthew text that says you can’t serve God and mammon. It was a sermon about a moral foundation for everything that we do. And that when you have everything in order, that actually makes you a better soldier. It also makes you better senator,” Warnock said. “And had Kelly Loeffler listened to the sermon, rather than trying to make a cheap political point, she would not have used her advantages as U.S Senator to make millions on a pandemic while playing it down to the people she was supposed to be representing.”
Warnock spent the majority of the debate on defense after Loeffler continued to highlight his past remarks as well as the debate moderators asking the Pastor to explain “in context” despite the remarks are clear and taken at face value.
“Look, it’s clear to me that my opponent is going to work really hard, spending millions of dollars of her own money, trying to push a narrative about me because she’s clearly decided that she does not have a case to be made for why she should stay in that seat,” Warnock said. “I have worked my whole life to pull people together. We need somebody who knows how to bring people together rather than using these issues as a political point to be made. These issues are tragic and our law enforcement officers lay it on the line every day. They have an ally with me. I just think that you can affirm what law enforcement officers do and hold them accountable.”
The Georgia Senator highlighted Warnock’s past “track record of disrespecting law enforcement,” including calling police officers “gangsters, thugs, bullies, and a threat,” while highlighting his usage of the “Bible to justify these types of attacks and make other divisive statements.”
“My opponent, radical liberal Raphael Warnock has called police officers gangsters, thugs, bullies, and a threat to our children. When I gave him the chance to apologize in our first debate, he declined,” Loeffler said. “He’s also said that you can’t serve God and the military. He’s used the Bible to justify these types of attacks and make other divisive statements. What we need is someone who can bring together that can help us get through this pandemic and rebuild our economy across this country and right here in Georgia. That’s what I’m fighting to do.”
Towards the end of the debate, Warnock was asked by the debate moderator to “respond to the abortion issue in particular,” where he proudly stated that he believes abortion should be a woman’s choice.
“I have a profound reverence for life and an abiding respect for choice. The question is: Whose decision is it?” Warnock responded. “And I happen to think that a patient’s room is too small a place for a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. government. I think that’s too many people in the room.”
“But those who are concerned about life, and I certainly am, ought to be focused on the incredibly high rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality in our country when compared to other developed nations. That’s something the government could work on. And I’ve been working on it my entire career,” Warnock added.
Warnock, before joining the clergy worked as a sexual health educator and has long been a vocal supporter of abortion rights. The pro-choice pastor describes himself as “an advocate for reproductive justice,” and promised to “always fight for reproductive justice.”
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) reacted to Warnock’s remarks after the debate, calling the pastor radicalism of using scripture to defend his support on abortion “deeply disturbing.”
“Tonight, Raphael Warnock once again attempted to use scripture to defend his extreme position in support of abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, for any reason. His radicalism is deeply disturbing and far outside the American mainstream,” the statement reads. “Senator Loeffler, by contrast, has used her platform to promote compassionate, popular pro-life legislation that upholds the dignity of life and protects women. We are thankful for her pro-life, pro-woman leadership.”
During an interview with a Georgia radio station WGAU back in August, Warnock said abortion is “consistent with” his philosophy as a Christian minister.
“I believe unequivocally in a woman’s right to choose, and that the decision is something that we don’t want government engaged in – that’s between her and her doctor and her minister,” he said.
When the radio host asked the Pastor the question, “Do you think it’s consistent with God’s view – that God endorses the millions of abortions we’ve had in this country since Roe v. Wade?” Warnock stated, “I think that human agency and freedom is consistent with my view as a minister.”
His pro-choice views as a pastor won the backing from one of the nation’s most prominent abortion rights groups. Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed the Warnock in May, calling the Pastor a “dedicated champion” who will fight new abortion restrictions in the U.S. Senate and will be a “tremendous passionate advocate for women’s health, contraceptive access, and the pro-choice movement.”
Warnock thanked Planned Parenthood for the endorsement in a tweet, calling the support from the nation’s largest abortion clinic an honor and promised to “fight to restore the soul of our nation.”
I have been an advocate for reproductive justice my entire life. As a US Senator, I promise to fight for and protect access to reproductive health care.
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) May 20, 2020
The abortion group on the other hand labeled Loeffler “a staunch opponent of abortion access,” while adding falsely distorting notes regarding the Senator’s alleged insider-trading ahead of the coronavirus pandemic. The notes highlight the investigations but failed to add the conclusion reporting that Loeffler was exonerated after the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its investigation when it found “no evidence” she violated any law or the Senate rules.
🚨 @ReverendWarnock opposes ANY abortion restrictions. He’s used the Bible & the pulpit to justify his support for abortion on demand.
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 16, 2020
Georgia’s Senate seats are both up for grabs in a crucial Jan. 5 runoff election, with the outcome that will determine which party controls the Senate and the direction of the United States. If either or of the incumbent Republicans — Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue win their seats, the GOP party will retain its majority control in the chamber. However, if both Democratic challengers — Warnock and Jon Ossoff prevail, the Senate will be split 50-50 with Vice president-elect, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) casting the tie-breaking vote.
According to the Real Clear Politics poll average from Nov. 8 through Dec. 3, Warnock is slight ahead by half a point margin with an average of 48.5% of the vote to Loeffler 48%.