“She’s been busy, as we say in church, calling me everything but a child of God. Lying on me, misrepresenting my record,” said Warnock, who has served as a senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. It is the same church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
“We say in church, scandalizing my name,” Warnock said. “But that’s alright. My momma told me that it’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to. And in just a few days she can call me Senator Raphael Warnock.”
The rally came just two days ahead of Georgia’s special runoff election, which will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
In the lead-up to Tuesday’s election, Loeffler has run numerous attack ads using snippets of sermons Warnock preached from Ebenezer’s pulpit to accuse him of being a far-left radical socialist who doesn’t support police officers or military service members.
Loeffler’s attacks include edited portions of Warnock’s sermon in which he decries “police power showing up in a kind of gangster and thug mentality,” as a criticism of law enforcement practices.
Rev. Timothy McDonald III, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta who served as assistant pastor of Ebenezer from 1978 to 1984, has suggested that Loeffler’s attacks are not just against Warnock, but “against the Black church and the Black religious experience.”
“I don’t care what you think about Warnock,” he said. “We’ve got to defend our church, our preaching, or prophetic tradition, our community involvement, and engagement. We’re going to defend that.”
Ebenezer is “Black America’s church,” McDonald added. “It’s bigger than any individual.”
Loeffler has responded, saying in a tweet last month that she isn’t attacking the Black church.
“We simply exposed your record in your own words,” she wrote in a reply to Warnock.
Warnock has continued to preach as he campaigns for office — albeit pre-recorded in an empty sanctuary, due to the pandemic. In a message delivered Sunday, Warnock seemed to allude to the runoff, telling viewers that they are “on the verge of victory” in their lives, if they accept that God has already equipped them with the ability to win against their adversaries.
“When God is with you, you can defeat giants,” said Warnock, who ended the early morning service by also encouraging Georgians to vote on Tuesday.
“It’s so very important that your voice be heard in this defining moment in our country,” he said. “I would not be so presumptuous as to tell you who to vote for.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.