Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, a pastor, is facing scrutiny once again — this time for a 2016 sermon clip in which he called on America to “repent” for its “worship of whiteness.”
Warnock, who leads Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the congregation once pastored by the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., made the controversial comments during a sermon in which he condemned then-candidate Donald Trump and those who would vote for him.
“If it is true that a man who has dominated the news and poisoned the discussion for months needs to repent, then it is doubly true that a nation that can produce such a man and make his vitriol go viral needs to repent,” he said from the pulpit in October 2016. “No matter what happens next month, more than a third of the nation that would go along with this is reason to be afraid. America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness on full display this season.”
Earlier in the sermon, titled “How Towers Tumble,” Warnock, who is running against incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), argued human diversity is responsible for our flourishing, according to the New York Post.
“Somebody lied and told them that uniformity, that sameness, homogeneity, was the key to survival,” said Warnock, referring to Genesis 11:4, in which humans attempted to build a tower to the heavens for fear of being scattered around the world. “Somebody lied and told them that diversity was a threat to their identity.”
“God made human beings in God’s image,” he continued, arguing it was human beings who made the false case that “some human beings are better than other human beings.”
“That’s a construction,” Warnock told his congregation. “It’s called bigotry; it’s called racism and sexism and misogyny and xenophobia. Race is not a biological factor; it’s a sociological construct. God made us, but we make stuff up.”
In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Warnock claimed the candidate’s words were taken out of context, noting the sermon came not long after Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced.
Warnock was acknowledging “that many people had tolerated then-candidate Trump’s hateful comments toward people with disabilities and marginalized communities and only expressed outrage after that tape came out,” said Terrence Clark, adding, “Kelly Loeffler claims to have never heard of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, but she certainly knows about the politics of division that she’s using to lie about Rev. Warnock’s words and record.”
News of the 2016 sermon clip comes not long after Warnock faced backlash for another video from 2011, when, during a sermon, he suggested congregants can’t “serve God and the military.”
The pastor was preaching on Matthew 6:24, the New Testament passage in which Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
“America, nobody can serve God and the military,” said Warnock. “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.”
Loeffler and Warnock will face off against one another in a Jan. 5 run-off election. The other two Georgia Senate candidates, incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, will also go head-to-head. The GOP needs to win at least one of the Georgia seats in order to maintain its majority in the Senate.