Senate

Warnock hit by Republicans over 'cannot serve God and the military' comment

Republican lawmakers are taking to social media to hammer Georgia Democratic Senate candidate the Rev. Raphael Warnock over comments he made in 2011 regarding the military and religion.

During a sermon Warnock delivered nearly a decade ago, the Democratic pastor paraphrased Bible verse Matthew 6:24, which states, "No one can serve two masters."

"America, nobody can serve God and the military," he said. "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."

The video has been resurfaced by various Republicans, with some even calling for Warnock to drop out of Georgia's Senate runoff race on Jan. 5.

Warnock's opponent, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, seized on Warnock's comments, calling them "disgraceful."

"@ReverendWarnock's comments disparaging the men and women who serve our country & risk their lives to defend freedom are disgraceful," Loeffler tweeted.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who is fighting to keep his seat in a separate Georgia runoff race, called upon Warnock to issue an apology while saying his own opponent, Jon Ossoff, needs to urge Warnock to drop out of the race.

"I am outraged over Reverend Raphael Warnock's remarks that he made from his pulpit in his church that you 'can't serve God and the military,'" Perdue said.

"Thousands of Georgians proudly serve in our Armed Forces, and anyone who serves them in the United States Senate should treat them with dignity and honor," he continued. "Warnock's comments deserve condemnation and his running mate Jon Ossoff's silence on this speaks volumes to his own character. I hope Ossoff will join me in urging his teammate, Warnock, to immediately apologize to those who serve our country and their families." 

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also took to Twitter to comment on Warnock's past statement, saying he was "not shocked" to learn of the reverend's comments.

"These & even crazier things is what the radicals who control the Democratic party's activist & small dollar donor base believe."

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called on Warnock to remove himself from the race.

"This is an insult to everyone who served," Cotton wrote. "Raphael Warnock should withdraw."

President Trump adviser Steve Cortes echoed Cotton's call-to-action, calling the comments "totally disqualifying."

Warnock defended his comments amid the backlash during a virtual press conference, stating, "What I was expressing as a person of faith that my ultimate allegiance is to God."

"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," Clark added.

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