Georgia pastors blasted Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) campaign on Saturday for its criticisms of Democratic opponent Rev. Raphael Warnock, calling them an “attack against the Black Church.”
More than 100 religious leaders criticized Loeffler and her campaign in an open letter Saturday for their framing of Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, as a “radical” and a “socialist.”
“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,” the letter said. “We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand.”
The New York Times first reported the letter which was signed mostly by Black church leaders in Georgia.
“We call upon you, Kelly Loeffler to cease your false attacks on Reverend Warnock’s social justice theological and faith traditions,” the letter also said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Loeffler’s campaign has called attention to Warnock’s previous criticism of police officers and a 2011 sermon in which he said that “nobody can serve God and the military,” a belief he has said is rooted in biblical passages.
Warnock tweeted out the Times report on Sunday, adding the statement, “My faith is the foundation upon which I have built my life.”
“It guides my service to my community and my country,” he said. “@KLoeffler’s attacks on our faith are not just disappointing — they are hurtful to Black churches across Georgia.”
Loeffler answered the Democratic contender in a tweet, saying, “No one attacked the Black church.”
Warnock also received backlash from a separate group of more than two dozen Black ministers who slammed him for his views on abortion rights, saying his “open advocacy of abortion is a scandal to the faith and to the Black community.”
The race between Loeffler and Warnock is one of two runoff Senate races in Georgia set for Jan. 5. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) will go against Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in the other election.
The Senate runoffs will determine which party has control of the U.S. Senate. If either Republican keeps their position, Republicans will retain the majority, but if both lose, the Senate will be split 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes when she takes office.