Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler: Calling out racism is 'playing the victim'

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Loeffler claimed attacks on her opponent's faith were okay because she had 'simply exposed' Raphael Warnock's views.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) on Sunday defended her attacks on opponent Raphael Warnock's faith, accusing him of "playing the victim" by calling out racism.

Loeffler, who was temporarily appointed to a vacant Senate seat last December and will soon face Democrat Warnock in a January special election runoff, was upset that a coalition of Black clergy had spoken out against her assaults on Warnock's faith. Warnock, who is senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, would be the first Black senator ever to represent Georgia.

"We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as 'radical' or 'socialist,' when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context," dozens of Georgia pastors wrote in a letter on Saturday. "We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand."

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Warnock shared the letter on Sunday, adding, "My faith is the foundation upon which I have built my life. It guides my service to my community and my country. [Loeffler's] attacks on our faith are not just disappointing — they are hurtful to Black churches across Georgia."

Loeffler responded in a racist tweet over the weekend, claiming Warnock was simply "playing the victim."

"No one attacked the Black church," she wrote. "We simply exposed your record in your own words. Instead of playing the victim, start answering simple questions about what you’ve said and who you’ve associated yourself with. If you can’t — you shouldn't be running for U.S. Senate."

Since advancing to the runoff last month, Loeffler has spent much of her time attacking Warnock for his religious beliefs, often recycling similar racist tropes that were used against Barack Obama in 2008.

Last week, she scolded him for quoting the Bible to justify his pro-choice views on abortion rights.

"[Warnock's] repeated use of the Bible & his pulpit to justify abortion-on-demand is sickening & wrong," she tweeted. "I will ALWAYS defend the most vulnerable among us & I’m proud to stand with those who are calling out my opponent's extremism."

Loeffler had notably attempted to quote the Bible in a tweet one day earlier about "Isiah (sic) 41:10."

Last month, Loeffler and her backers suggested that Warnock was anti-American and anti-veteran based on an out-of-context quote from a 2011 sermon. In that, he had paraphrased scripture to make a point about priorities, saying, "America, nobody can serve God and the military. 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."

Loeffler's attacks stand in contrast with her own past comments on religious freedom.

Back July, the Georgia senator wrote in an op-ed that religious beliefs were sacrosanct and should not be attacked. "Americans have a right to express their personal, political and religious beliefs without retribution," she said. "Today, the cancel culture is targeting me because I spoke out. But who’s next?"

She also decried "anti-woman and anti-faith attacks coming from the left" in September, after what she interpreted as criticism of Justice Amy Coney Barrett's Catholic views during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

And in January, before Warnock was a candidate, Loeffler was a guest at Ebenezer Baptist for a Martin Luther King Day service. She shared the pulpit with him during that appearance, calling his church a "sacred place" that "puts words into action," and praising those present as "men and women who advance the cause of freedom."

While Loeffler claims not to have "a racist bone" in her body, she has spent much of her year in public office pushing racial attacks and associating with racist extremists.

Time and again, she has spoken out against anti-racism protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it is "rooted in Marxist principles."

"The BLM political organization's goals — which are rooted in Marxist principles & include defunding the police — do not unite Americans," she tweeted in July. "I'm standing up. I'm speaking out. And I won't be canceled for calling this out."

She also has campaigned with racist Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R), made an appearance on a show hosted by a prominent white supremacist, and taken a selfie with a prominent former Ku Klux Klan leader.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.