More than 100 religious leaders have signed an open letter to Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), asking her to stop the “false attacks” against the “social justice theological and faith traditions” of Rev. Raphael Warnock, her Democratic opponent.
Warnock and Loeffler, who was appointed to her Senate seat in 2019 after Johnny Isakson resigned for health reasons, are fighting to win one of Georgia’s two Senate runoff races on Jan. 5. Warnock is senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and throughout the campaign, Loeffler has tried to brand him as a “radical” liberal and “socialist,” criticizing him for a 2011 sermon invoking the military and his support of women’s reproductive rights.
In their letter, the religious leaders — primarily pastors from Georgia — ask Loeffler to “cease your false attacks on Rev. 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.”
Warnock has not said or written anything that indicates he is a “socialist” or “radical,” the letter states, and the leaders see Loeffler’s “attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black church and faith traditions for which we stand.”
The race between Warnock and Loeffler has been filled with controversies. Earlier this month, an open letter against Warnock was released by conservative Black ministers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Warnock also responded to criticism from two Orthodox rabbis upset over remarks he made about unarmed Palestinians being shot by Israeli soldiers, saying he is a “staunch ally and supporter of Israel.”
Loeffler has been scrutinized for selling stocks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when she received confidential information during Senate briefings. She has also spread baseless claims about election fraud in Georgia, supported President Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results, and posed for a photo during a rally with Chester Doles, a white supremacist and former KKK leader who marched in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Loeffler’s campaign later said she didn’t know who he was, and otherwise would have removed him from the event. Catherine Garcia