Everything is on the Line
A close look at Georgia Senate Candidate Raphael Warnock.
Born to two Pentecostal-Holiness ministers in Savannah, Georgia in 1969, Rev. Raphael Warnock served at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York from 1991 through 2001 – six years as a youth pastor and four years as an assistant pastor. He was then employed as senior pastor of the Douglas Memorial Community Church in Carroll County, Maryland, from early 2001 through mid-2005. And since 2005, he has been senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
In 2020, Warnock, a Democrat, decided to run for a U.S. Senate seat representing Georgia. His campaign raised more than $20 million, of which nearly 80% came from out-of-state donors. Neither Warnock nor the Republican incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, received more than 50% of the vote in the ten-candidate field, thereby setting the stage for a January 5, 2021 special runoff election between Warnock and Loeffler. The result of that runoff will help determine which party controls the Senate.
Following is a close examination of Warnock’s track record, worldview, and political agendas.
Warnock’s Church Honors Fidel Castro (1995)
While Warnock was a youth pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1995, that church — on October 22 of that year — held a special event hosting and celebrating the longtime Communist dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro. The nearly 1,300 frenzied Castro supporters who were packed into the sanctuary that night gave the guest-of-honor a ten-minute standing ovation, chanting “Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!” Senior pastor Calvin Butts announced, “We have one of the great leaders of the world [Castro] with us today.” And according to a Miami Herald report about the event, Castro “blast[ed] the United States with … vigor” until the festivities ended “with a rousing rendition of the socialist hymn Internationale.” Among the high-profile figures in attendance was the lifelong Communist revolutionary Angela Davis, who smiled broadly at Castro and, according to a New York Times report, “gave him a fisted salute.” (For a video of Castro’s appearance, click here.)
Praising Jeremiah Wright (2008-14)
During the presidential campaign season of 2008, Warnock, who was slated to deliver a speech honoring Barack Obama’s controversial longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright, was asked by Fox News reporter Greta van Susteren: “Do you embrace the Reverend Wright, and let me focus on the soundbites, for lack of better words, but certainly he has said things like ‘GD [God damn] America’ and the things he has said … Do you embrace that? Is that something you would do, sir, in your church?” Describing Wright as “a prophet,” Warnock replied: “We celebrate Reverend Wright in the same way that we celebrate the truth-telling tradition of the black church, which, when preachers tell the truth, very often it makes people uncomfortable.”
In a similar spirit, Warnock, in his 2013 book The Divided Mind of the Black Church, compared Wright’s message to that of the biblical prophet Jeremiah. And in a February 2013 speech, Warnock described Wright’s infamous “God Damn America” sermon of 2003 — which likened U.S. leaders to al Qaeda, claimed that HIV was a U.S. government invention designed to exterminate black people, and asserted that the 9/11 attacks were an act of retribution for evil U.S. foreign policies — as a “very fine homily.” Asserting further that Wright’s sermon was “consistent with black prophetic preaching,” Warnock lamented that the black church was “barely understood by mainstream America.”
Defending Socialism & Marxism (2009-13)
Proclaiming that socialism is consistent with the tenets of Christian Scripture, Warnock said in a 2009 sermon: “I’m so sick and tired of all of these folk talking about ‘socialistic medicine.’ And I really get upset when I hear Christians in the midst of this debate, talking about socialism. They ought to go back and read Acts Chapter Two, where the Bible says that the church had all things in common.”
In his 2013 book, The Divided Mind of the Black Church, Warnock wrote: “To be sure, the Marxist critique has much to teach the Black church. Indeed, it has played an important role in the maturation of black theology as an intellectual discipline, deepened black theology’s apprehension of the interconnectivity of racial and class oppression, and provided critical tools for a black church that has yet to awaken to a substantive third world consciousness.”
In a 2011 sermon which he delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock suggested that the actions and objectives of the U.S. military are inherently evil and ungodly: “America, nobody can serve God and the military. You can’t serve God and money. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches] at the same time. America, choose ye this day who you will serve. Choose ye this day.”
Praising James Cone, the Racist Who Founded Black Liberation Theology (2013-18)
The man whom Warnock identifies as his religious “mentor” was the late James Cone, who served as Warnock’s academic adviser at Union Theological Seminary. Widely regarded as the founder of Black Liberation Theology — a doctrine of Marxism and black supremacy dressed up as Christianity — Cone famously stated that “the goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white,” and that “Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil.’” Warnock cited Cone’s 1970 book, A Black Theology of Liberation, more than a dozen times in the chapters and footnotes of his own 2013 book, The Divided Mind of the Black Church. After Cone died in 2018, Warnock eulogized him at the funeral and said: “How blessed we are that someone of the spiritual magnitude and power and commitment of Dr. James Hal Cone passed our way.”
Calling for Empty Prisons & a “Militant Church” (2013-19)
At a “Rights and Religions” symposium held at the Union Theological Institute in November 2013, Warnock delivered the keynote speech, titled “Black Theology, the Black Church and America’s Prison Industrial Complex.” In the course of his remarks, he stated that if “black theology and the black church” failed to support “dismantling the prison industrial complex,” then “both deserve to die.” He also called for the creation of a “new and militant church, preaching deliverance to the captives” — i.e., black prison inmates.
Reasoning from the premise that the American criminal-justice system is thoroughly infested with racism, Warnock in early 2019 joined a number of other black religious leaders in signing his name to a statement condemning “the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration.”
During a “Let My People Go: Ending Mass Incarceration” conference at Ebenezer Baptist Church in June 2019, Warnock called for the mass release of prisoners, saying, “It’s not enough to decriminalize marijuana. Somebody’s got to open up the jail cells and let our children go.” Describing incarceration as an immoral form of “human bondage,” he added: “Every form of human bondage injures the soul of the oppressed. Inflates the self-understanding of the oppressor. And insults the Sovereignty of God.”
Describing Jesus As “a Palestinian” (2014)
In a 2014 speech, Warnock described Jesus Christ as a “Palestinian peasant,” a label that contradicts biblical and scholarly descriptions of Jesus as a Jew hailing from Judea. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an official at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, explains that Warnock’s allegation has commonly been used as a means of denying the Jewish people’s historical connection to Israel as their homeland: “For people who have no theological or historical rooting, the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian creates a new narrative for Palestinian history, which otherwise does not date back very far. If one can say that Jesus was Palestinian 2,000 years ago, then that means the Jews are occupying Palestinian land.”
Opposing the Second Amendment & “Stand-Your-Ground” Laws (2014)
In a February 2014 sermon, Warnock derided his state’s laws regarding gun ownership, saying: “Georgia has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. Georgia’s idea of gun control is whether you can hold your rifle straight. With all of the lax gun laws in Georgia, they’ve decided that they aren’t lax enough.”
In another sermon that same month, Warnock criticized Georgia Republican politicians “who go to church every Sunday morning, and then walk into that capitol, stand under that gold dome, and come up with the dumbest [gun] legislation you can ever imagine.” Added Warnock: “‘What we need [the Republicans say] is more guns, in more places, by more people.’ Think about all the crazy people you bump into just on the routine, every week. On your job, on the street, some of them in church – don’t look at ’em. Imagine all them people with guns.”
Also in 2014, Warnock condemned Georgia’s “stand-your-ground” laws, which permit people to use firearms or other means of deadly force when they reasonably believe such force to be necessary to defend against a criminal threat of death or serious bodily harm. Said Warnock: “Then they come up with all of these clever names, ‘Stand Your Ground.’ No it’s not a stand-your-ground law, it’s a shoot-first law. Shoot first, ask questions later.”
Comparing Police to “Gangstas” and “Thugs” (2015)
Warnock condemned the police response to the violent riots that swept through the city of Ferguson, Missouri after the August 9, 2014 police shooting (in Ferguson) of an 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown. Said Warnock in a March 2015 sermon: “So, in Ferguson, police power, showing up in a kind of gangsta and thug mentality. You now, you can wear all kinds of colors and be a thug; you can sometimes wear the colors of the state and behave like a thug.”
In another sermon three months later, Warnock remarked: ““Our children are in trouble, and it’s often those who are sworn to protect, who cause more trouble.”
And in November 2015, Warnock said: “When you think about the fact that America still warehouses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see police officers act like bullies on the street…. You don’t get to be the incarceration capital of the world by playing nice on the streets, you have to work for that distinction.”
Hating Trump & America’s “Worship of Whiteness” (2016)
In an October 2016 speech at Atlanta’s Candler School of Theology, Warnock excoriated then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his political supporters as racists: “If it is true that a man [Trump] 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. No matter what happens next month [in the presidential election], more than a third of the nation that would go along with this [Trump campaign], is reason to be afraid. America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness, on full display this [election] season.”
“Racism Is America’s Preexisting Condition” (2017)
At a New Baptist Covenant event on June 29, 2017, Warnock said:
“We are in a special moment. We are in an evil moment. We are in a tragic moment, and I suggest to you that our politics is symptomatic of our sickness. We’ve got a lot of problems, but I would not be a prophet if I did not tell you that racism is America’s preexisting condition. Like the insurance companies, nobody wants to go there. Nobody wants to cover it because we wonder what it would cost. We, the land of the free, and the incarceration capital of the world. In this land where we warehouse 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although we are only five percent of the world, we are to ask ourselves what has it cost us not to cover it, not to face up to it, not to confront it, not to deal with it. Racism is America’s preexisting condition.”
On another occasion in 2017, Warnock sounded a similar refrain: “America has a preexisting condition. It’s called racism. It’s called classism. It’s called bigotry. It’s called xenophobia. And we need God to heal us of our preexisting condition.”
Hating Israel (2018-19)
Soon after President Trump opened the newly relocated U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May 2018, Warnock said in a sermon : “It’s been a tough week. The administration opened up the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Standing there [were] the president’s family and a few mealy-mouthed evangelical preachers who are responsible for the mess that we found ourselves in, both there and here — misquoting and misinterpreting the Scripture, talking about peace.”
Warnock then proceeded to draw a comparison between the Palestinian rights movement in the Middle East, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. He characterized “Palestinian sisters and brothers” as people who have repeatedly used “peaceful demonstration” to draw attention to the fact that they are “struggling” for “their very lives,” for “their human dignity,” and for their “right to breathe free.” “And yes,” Warnock added, “there may have been some [Palestinian] folk who were violent, but we oughta know how that works out. We [black Americans] know what it’s like to stand up and have a peaceful demonstration and have the media focus on a few violent uprisings.”
“A few violent uprisings”? It would be interesting to hear what Warnock thinks of the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project study which reports that fully 95 percent of the 600+ violent riots that swept across the United States this summer were organized and led by Black Lives Matter.
Warnock’s animus toward Israel was again on display when he proclaimed in 2018: “We saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.” Presumably, Warnock’s ignorance is so colossal, that he is unaware of the great lengths to which Israel goes in order to avoid harming Palestinian civilians. As an American Thinker report puts it: “Israel, more than any other country in the world, will do anything, including putting its troops in danger, to avoid harming innocents. The Palestinians, therefore, deliberately place their weapons and fighters in schools and hospitals in order to parade dead children before the West’s cameras.”
In early 2019, Warnock joined a number of fellow black religious leaders in signing an open statement that denounced Israel for oppressing Palestinians with “patterns” of treatment “that seem to have been borrowed and perfected from other previous oppressive regimes.” By contrast, the statement lauded “the leaders of the Palestinian Authority” for their supposedly longstanding efforts to promote peace by making a “conscious decision to forgo armed solutions to the conflict.” Moreover, the statement lamented:
- “Palestinian communities and homes where people are not allowed to have freedom of movement or self-determination”
- “state-sanctioned [Israeli] violence in the form of detention, interrogation, teargassed, beatings, forced confessions and death”
- “the excessive use of force by Israel to subjugate the people in collective punishment of [the] whole population, and the debilitating confinement that renders Gaza as one big densely populated prison”
- “the ever-present physical walls that wall in Palestinians in a political wall reminiscent of the Berlin Wall”
- “the heavy [Israeli] militarization of the West Bank, reminiscent of the military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa”
- “[Israel’s] unstoppable gobbling up of Palestinian lands to almost render the proposed two-state solution unworkable”
- “the misery in which poor families in Palestine have to survive, especially those holed up in refugee camps”
Blaming White Racism & “Environmental Hazards” for Black Crime (2019)
In an October 2019 panel discussion at the Memorial Church of Harvard University, the moderator asked Warnock to speak about the “overlap” between crime and climate change. In his response, Warnock asserted that civil rights leaders should remain ever-mindful of the “intersectionality” of race and climate change. Specifically, he cited the case of Freddie Gray, a longtime Baltimore criminal who died in April 2015 as a result of spinal-cord injuries that he suffered while in custody, unstrapped by any seat belt, inside the cargo area of a moving police van. Attributing Gray’s criminal history to impaired brain function caused by environmental factors that disproportionately affect poor black people, Warnock said:
“Freddie Gray in Baltimore. You remember that case? Freddie Gray who died in the custody of the police … His story didn’t begin there. Freddie Gray grew up in Baltimore, where I was a pastor for almost five years. He was a victim of environmental hazards in the built environment. Lead poisoning. In substandard housing. In a country where we have known for decades what lead poisoning does and how it leads to behavioral issues in the classroom and learning difficulties. And then, so he becomes part of the prison pipeline. So these civil rights issues, human rights issues, climate change both in the natural world and built environment, are all part of this larger issue that speaks to the soul of America.”
Supporting Taxpayer-Funded Abortion-on-Demand (2020)
In an August 2020 interview with WGAU radio host Tim Bryant, Warnock said that taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand is “consistent with my view as a Christian minister, and I will fight for it.” Characterizing abortion as a form of “healthcare,” Warnock stated: “I believe that healthcare is a human right. And I believe that it is something that the richest nation in the world provides for its citizens, and for me reproductive justice is consistent with my commitment to that.”
Because of Warnock’s stance on abortion, Planned Parenthood, America’s leading provider of abortions, endorsed him in May 2020 as a “health care champion” and supported his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Warner’s campaign was also endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Characterizing Cash Bail As a “Poll Tax” and “Voter Suppression” (2020)
Warnock is an outspoken opponent of “cash bail” requirements that enable certain accused criminals to stay out of jail while awaiting trial. His opposition is based on the premise that such requirements discriminate against poor people who cannot afford to post bail. During a November 2019 symposium at Harvard University, for instance, a member of the audience asked Warnock for his opinion about states where formerly imprisoned felons are barred from voting in political elections until after they have paid off all the fines and fees associated with their incarceration.
“What we’ve witnessed over the last few years is an attack on democracy itself,” Warnock replied. “And the carceral system is a tool in that arsenal.” Suggesting that “churches and mosques and temples” should consider paying such fees on behalf of formerly incarcerated felons who may now wish to cast ballots in elections, he added: “Us simply paying the beast for what shouldn’t be the case in the first place is not the answer. We ought to push back, and if we did some payment, it would be to draw attention to the issue.” “Sort of like we’re bailing people out of jail,” Warnock continued, “but our ultimate goal is to get rid of cash bail. It’s a poll tax; it’s voter suppression. Our democracy is being hijacked and we have to take it back.”
The no-bail policy that Warner favors has already been tried in New York State, with disastrous results. In 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a criminal-justice reform measure that allows most criminal suspects charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies to walk free without having to post bail. The new law covers hundreds of different “nonviolent” offenses, including drug trafficking and home burglary. The negative consequences of bail reform became particularly apparent in the riots that swept through New York City this summer. Most of those who destroyed storefronts and business establishments were immune from incarceration because of the no-bail law, as the New York Post explained: “Right now, anyone arrested for looting gets rapidly released, with no need to post bail to avoid jail until trial…. [The imposition of bail] requires that the use of a ‘dangerous instrument’ be part of the alleged crime. And the ruling from the state’s top court is clear: Someone has to be on the other side of the window when you throw a brick through it. If no one’s there, it’s not a weapon, and jail/bail is off the table.”
Refusal to Give His Opinion Regarding the Packing of the Supreme Court & the U.S. Senate (2020)
During a November 2020 interview with GrayDC.com, Warnock was asked to comment on reports that Democrats, if they succeed in taking control of the U.S. Senate, will move to “pack” the Supreme Court – i.e., increase the number of Justices from 9 to perhaps 13 or 15 — with all the additions being activists who could be counted upon to rule in favor of Democrat agenda items. He was also asked if he would be in favor of Democrats similarly packing the Senate by creating two new U.S. states — Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico — so as to add four additional, guaranteed Democrat seats to the Senate.
These questions are particularly pertinent in light of the fact that the 2020 Democratic Party Platform openly declares that one of its objectives is: “making Washington, D.C. the 51st State.” Moreover, Senator Charles Schumer is on record as having declared that “everything is on the table” if Democrats win a majority in the Senate. Says Schumer: “I would … love to make [D.C. and Puerto Rico] states…. I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing. We are going to get a whole lot done, and as I’ve said, everything, everything is on the table.”
In response to the questions by GrayDC.com, Warnock was wholly evasive, saying: “I think that they’re [Republicans] trying to divide us, again. And it’s really sad, because, at the end of the day, E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one — that’s the covenant that we have with one another, as an American people. I support that. I believe in that with all of my heart. And I’m going to stand up and defend it.”
After being asked once more if he supports the expansion of the Supreme Court, Warnock again refused to address the question, saying: “I’m really focused on representing the concerns of ordinary people here in Georgia. I think it’s presumptuous for me to go further down that path, talking about what ought to happen with the courts. I’m hopeful that the people of Georgia will look at my life, look at my record, and give me the great honor of representing them in the United States Senate.”
When a man repeatedly refuses to answer a simple question, he’s obviously trying to hide something.
Incredible as it may seem, the future of our nation hinges, in large part, on what happens in the runoff election six weeks from now between Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler. If Warnock wins, the Democrats stand a strong chance of gaining control of the U.S. Senate. And if they do that, they will move quickly to permanently transform the country into something that will be unrecognizable to most Americans. Warnock’s policy positions on every major issue, are mirror images of the Democrat Party positions. In short, Warnock defends socialism and Marxism; he views America as a detestable cesspool of racism and oppression; he holds the American military, as well as police officers and the criminal-justice system, in contempt; he seeks to institute law-enforcement policies that are known to breed chaos and violence – all in the name of “racial justice”; he views America’s closest ally, Israel, as an evil oppressor nation; he not only supports abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy, but also insists that American taxpayers should foot the bill; and he favors the tyrannical, totalitarian agenda of packing the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate with Democrats, so as to turn America into a permanent one-party state where no dissent, and no freedom of thought, is tolerated. This is what’s on the line with Raphael Warnock’s Senate bid.