More than 100 pastors call on Loeffler to stop spreading 'reprehensible falsehoods' about Warnock, denouncing them as an 'attack against the Black Church'

Ben Grey/AP PhotoGOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock at a debate in Atlanta on December 6.
  • A group of over 100 pastors criticised the campaign strategy of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, saying her political attacks against the Democrat Raphael Warnock had devolved into “a broader attack against the Black Church.”
  • “We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist’ when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context,” they wrote in an open letter released on Saturday.
  • In a year when racial and social justice have been at the forefront of the national debate, especially among Black parishioners, the pastors slammed Loeffler for criticising Warnock as he addressed those issues.
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A group of over 100 pastors blasted the campaign strategy of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia on Saturday, saying her political attacks against her Democratic opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, had devolved into “a broader attack against the Black Church.”

In an open letter, signed mostly by Black clergy leaders in Georgia, the group criticised the Loeffler campaign’s fervent depiction of Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, as a “radical” and a “socialist.”

The New York Times first reported on the letter.

“We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist’ when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context,” they wrote.

In a year when racial and social justice have been at the forefront of the national debate, especially after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, the pastors slammed Loeffler for criticising Warnock as he addressed those issues.

“Your most recent attacks against Warnock for sermons condemning police brutality, advocating criminal justice reform, and expressing support for measures to reduce gun-violence — all concerns of his congregation — are beyond the pale and cannot go unaddressed by members of the faith community,” they wrote. “The reprehensible falsehoods must stop!”

The pastors accused Loeffler of failing to address issues of racial justice, which are highly resonant among Black voters, saying she showed “disdain for Black elected officials and Black Lives Matter marches against systemic racism.”


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The pastors also called out Loeffler for decrying religion-based attacks against Amy Coney Barrett during her Supreme Court confirmation while employing similar attacks against Warnock.

“We witnessed how Conservatives uproariously cried foul when anyone asked how Amy Coney Barrett’s faith might affect her rulings as she was under consideration for the high Court,” they wrote. “We remember your Tweet characterising those perceived attacks against Barrett as ‘disgusting’ but now you characterise Warnock’s religious convictions as ‘despicable, disgusting, and wrong.’ You continue to parse and take out of context decades old utterances by Warnock from the pulpit.”

On Sunday, Warnock responded to the letter on Twitter.

“My faith is the foundation upon which I have built my life,” he wrote. “It guides my service to my community and my country.”

He added that Loeffler’s “attacks on our faith are not just disappointing — they are hurtful to Black churches across Georgia.”

Loeffler responded to Warnock on Twitter, saying that “no one attacked the Black church.”

“We simply exposed your record in your own words,” she added. “Instead of playing the victim, start answering simple questions about what you’ve said and who you’ve associated yourself with. If you can’t — you shouldn’t be running for U.S. Senate.”

In the letter, the pastors said Loeffler’s endorsement of President Donald Trump’s legal actions to invalidate the 2020 election results was an affront to Black voters.

“We witnessed your naked hypocrisy as you supported 59 attempts at the delegitimization of Black votes with meaningless lawsuits by the Trump campaign operatives,” they wrote. “What can be more radical, more seditious than supporting 59 attempts to overthrow the will of the people by tossing Black votes?”

Loeffler and Warnock are locked in a tight race before two runoff elections on January 5 — two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration — that will determine which party controls the Senate. The other is between GOP Sen. David Perdue and Jon Ossoff, his Democratic opponent.

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