Republicans are hitting Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock over a sermon he made in 2011 in which he said no one can serve “God and the military.”
Warnock made the remarks in a sermon in April 2011 entitled “When Truth Meets Power.” The address resurfaced Tuesday on social media.
In it, the reverend called on churchgoers, and America as a whole, to turn away from the pursuit of power and wealth in favor of a life of service.
“America, nobody can serve God and the military,” Warnock said at the time. “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. Choose ye this day.”
“Politicians try to keep their power. Political parties lie in order to keep their power. And church folk, yeah, you too, maneuver…in order to keep your power. And Jesus says, that’s not power. That’s paranoia.”
“@ReverendWarnock ‘nobody can serve God and the military.’This is a disgrace,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott wrote on Twitter. “Every Senate Democrat should be asked whether they agree with Warnock. Every. Single. One.”
“Not shocked #Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Raphael Warnock said 'You cannot serve God and the military' at the same time. These & even crazier things is what the radicals who control the Democratic party’s activist & small-dollar donor base believe,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., Warnock’s opponent in the Georgia Senate runoff race, demanded an apology.
"I'm the daughter & granddaughter of veterans, and proud to serve on the VA Committee," Loeffler wrote.
"@ReverendWarnock—this is despicable, disgusting, and wrong. You owe our active military & veterans—who sacrifice so much for our country—an immediate apology."
Warnock’s views on defense aren’t clear, as the issue isn’t listed on his campaign site and he hasn’t in recent days spoken out on it.
In the sermon, Warnock called on churchgoers to find “real power” in Jesus.
“Because when you’ve got real power, you’re not worrying about your place in the world. You know how to be exalted and you know how to be abased. You know how to sit high and you know how to sit low and you’re not worried about your place in the world because you’re connected with something that’s greater than you and you’re concerned about something that’s greater than yourself.”
“When you have real power, Jesus says that you’ll lay it down so that somebody else can have some power. Real power will lay itself down on behalf of the powerless,” Warnock added.
A prominent civil rights advocate, Warnock, 51, has served as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. The position was once held by Martin Luther King Jr.
Warnock’s campaign brushed off criticism, saying the sermon was based on a Bible verse and taken out of context.
“This sermon is based on a biblical verse that reads ‘No man can serve two masters… Ye cannot serve God and mammon,’ a biblical term for wealth," Terrence Clark, communications director for the Warnock campaign, said in a statement to Fox News. "Reverend Warnock was speaking about the need to commit to moral life before pursuing other priorities. As the video of the congregation’s response makes clear, this is another blatant effort by Kelly Loeffler to take Reverend Warnock’s words completely out of context. Given her own decision to spend her first days in the U.S. Senate profiting off the pandemic, perhaps she should watch the sermon more closely.”
Warnock and Loeffler are locked in a heated election race that will culminate with a runoff vote on Jan. 5. The race will determine which candidate serves the remainder of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term, which runs through 2022. The Democratic Party needs to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections to secure a 50-50 tie in Congress’ upper chamber.
Loeffler has repeatedly attacked her opponent over his past sermons since Election Day, driving home a message that she is the last stand against the Democrats’ radical socialist agenda.
In a tweet on Nov. 14, Loeffler shared an October 2016 clip from a sermon in which Warnock said, "America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness” following President Trump’s election victory over Hillary Clinton. The Warnock campaign said his remarks were taken out of context.
Warnock responded to Loeffler’s frequent references to his past sermons in a Tuesday tweet in which he took aim at the senator’s stance on health care.
“I am glad that Senator @KLoeffler is listening to my sermons. One of my favorite sermons is entitled ‘Love your neighbor’. That means you don’t get rid of your neighbor’s healthcare in the middle of a pandemic,” Warnock wrote.
Fox News' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.