A stinging open letter signed by a coalition of African-American pastors in Georgia blasted Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s attacks on rival Rev. Raphael Warnock as a broader assault on the faith traditions of Black congregations.
Loeffler has attempted to tarnish the Democratic pastor’s reputation by repeatedly calling him a radical, a socialist and a “radical liberal.”
The letter, signed by more than 100 religious leaders, presented Warnock’s support for social justice as an integral element of his faith. When Loeffler attacks that, she attacks Warnock’s religion and the faith of Black congregations who believe in the same religious values, it stated.
“We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand,” the letter charged.
The letter demanded that Loeffler stop her “false attacks” on Warnock’s social justice theological and faith traditions, “which visualizes a just and ardent world where love, fairness and equal justice under the law for marginalized people of all races is not only accepted as an authentic prophetic message in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, but also a central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The letter also attacked Loeffler’s support of President Donald Trump’s baseless claim of election fraud in Georgia and his attempt to overturn the presidential election results.
“What can be more radical, more seditious than supporting 59 attempts to overthrow the will of the people by tossing Black votes?” the letter asked.
Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, emphasized the link between his social values and his religion in a tweet on Sunday:
Loeffler hit back at Warnock on Twitter and referred to the religious leaders’ open letter:
Earlier this month, Jewish activist organization Bend the Arc retweeted a photo of Loeffler posing with Chester Doles, a former KKK leader who served time in prison for almost beating a Black man to death. Loeffler’s campaign claimed she had no idea who Doles was. But Loeffler has a history of posing with white supremacists and other extremists.
Loeffler, who paints herself as a Second Amendment supporter, has also said that Black protesters who legally carried guns during a demonstration were practicing “mob rule.”
Pressed on her controversial statements in a debate against Warnock earlier this month, Loeffler insisted: “There is not a racist bone in my body.”
She and Purdue face runoff elections on Jan. 5 against their Democratic rivals that will determine which party controls the Senate.