Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock referred to the Nation of Islam as an “important” voice for African Americans during a 2013 speech in which he was comparing the Black power religion's numbers to “mainline Protestantism.”
Warnock made the comments in response to an audience member who asked the reverend to discuss the Nation of Islam’s relationship to Christian churches, and whether the “Black church” is having the same attendance problems of “mainstream White churches and synagogues.”
Warnock, who has been the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005 and is running to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, said the Nation of Islam is “significant” but its numbers don’t come close to Christian churches.
“Its voice has been important for the development of Black theology,” Warnock said, referring to an ideology developed by Black preachers during the Civil Rights era to combat White supremacy within Christianity.
“It was the Black Muslims who challenged Black preachers and said, ‘you’re promulgating … the White man’s religion. That’s a slave religion. You’re telling people to focus on heaven, meanwhile, they’re catching hell,'” Warnock said.
The reverend said the Nation of Islam was necessary to “put a fire” under Black preachers and keep them “honest” about the message coming from their pulpits.
The Nation of Islam is an African American political and religious group founded in Detroit in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. It became a formidable political force over the next several decades through the leadership of Elijah Muhammad and his most high-profile disciple, Malcolm X.
The Nation preached a message of Black empowerment and became one of the wealthiest African American organizations in the United States.
But the Nation’s message of Black empowerment has been overshadowed by some of its more bizarre theological teachings that hold Jews as “satanic” and prohibits race-mixing. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that frequently targets conservative groups, has labeled the Nation of Islam as a “hate group."
For more than 40 years, the Nation has been led by Louis Farrakhan, who has stoked endless controversy for his incendiary remarks, particularly his attacks on Jews, whom he has referred to as “satanic” and “termites.”
Fox News has reached out to Warnock's press office but did not hear back by the time of publication.