Kelly Loeffler is trying too hard

She's making me consider voting for Warnock

I am a conservative, but first I am a Christian. The former means I support fact-based ideas based on a “skinny” federal government, personal responsibility, the fruits of free enterprise, a strong national defense, and the freedom of individuals to live our lives without a nanny state planning and plotting our lives from cradle to grave.

The latter means I offer unconditional love, compassion, and aid to those who genuinely need it. This does not extend to whiny claims of victimhood because of what someone else’s ancestors did 300 years ago. It does not extend to racist attitudes of what is redeemable and what is not, based on skin color, or chromosomal sex. Being a Christian also means that I humbly accept the Lordship of Christ, and devote myself to the promulgation of the Gospel and the grace of His presence.

Kelly Loeffler is a wealthy, ambitious businesswoman. She convinced Gov. Brian Kemp of her genuine commitment to conservative values, which are based on her faith and similar principles which I believe guide my own politics. I trust Gov. Kemp, and therefore have accepted Loeffler as a decent and valuable Senator. She had tried hard to convince voters, in a very tight and contested “jungle primary” race that included President Trump’s choice Rep. Doug Collins, that she was a rock-ribbed champion of conservative values. She did this by sidling up to Trump, who for many white Christians is the epitome of a fighter for the cause.

I am a skeptic about Trump’s conservative bona-fides. I think he is a chameleon who will ride the populist wave as far as it will take him, but at heart, Trump will spend the people’s purse dry and then borrow an ocean to spend more. I think Trump knows how to huck conservative values like it was steak, or a real estate get-rich-quick scheme. While having a devoted salesman in the Oval Office was good for rolling back the nanny state impulses of Democrats who find themselves opposing even the hint of Christian personal philanthropy and responsibility, in favor of a unified outcome-based soft socialism, flavored by critical race theory and racial reparations, it’s not very good as a building block for other conservatives.

In fact, it’s terrible. Witness that the GOP, for the first time in my memory, and possibly in a century, or ever, had no platform in 2020. The platform was, in essence, we believe in what Trump says. As long as what Trump says is useful, that works, but it can’t work if anyone else says it, which is Loeffler’s problem as a newbie to politics and campaigning.

Frankly, Loeffler is trying too hard.

She’s trying so hard that the way Sen. Loeffler is conducting her campaign against Rev. Raphael Warnock is troubling, and pushing me to consider Rev. Warnock for my vote.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Democrats to control the Senate. I don’t want Chuck Schumer setting the agenda for judicial appointments, bills taken to the floor, and other important matters. But I am not voting for a team here—Republicans don’t own my vote any more than Democrats own the votes of Blacks or hispanics. We all get to decide based on our own critical thoughts.

Let’s look at Rev. Warnock.

He’s a graduate of Morehouse College, a historically Black university in Atlanta, where Spike Lee, Martin Luther King, Jr. Samuel L. Jackson, and Jeh Johnson attended. Notably Herman Cain, rest his soul, is also a noted alumnus. While Morehouse is a hotbed of liberals, it doesn’t exclusively produce liberal graduates.

According to Ebenezer Baptist Church’s website, Warnock is the son of two Pentecostal pastors. He was called to preach at an early age, and has been EBC’s pastor since 2005, when he assumed the pulpit at just 35 years of age—the youngest EBC pastor in the church’s history. Most EBC pastors serve for many decades, it’s not a place to churn and burn. Martin Luther King, Sr. served for 44 years, followed by Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., who served 30 years. The fact that Warnock is running for Senate after just 15 years, and he is willing to leave the pulpit for politics is interesting.

Warnock has a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in systemic theology. He’s trained and well versed in Scripture. The church he pastors is founded on the unconditional grace and love of Christ—and the salvation found in no other name. The fact that he’s a Black Democrat in itself is not disqualifying. Yet if you look at Loeffler’s remarks and ads, you’d think voting for Warnock is voting for the Black Panthers, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and Ché Guevara all rolled into one.

Loeffler and her Republican staff has pored through Warnock’s sermons to find anything controversial that might inflame voters. They found a nugget that backfired, because it was out of context, and completely Biblical. From Roll Call:

“Raphael Warnock called police thugs and gangsters,” the male narrator says. “Hosted a rally for communist dictator Fidel Castro. And praised Marxism in speeches and writings.” 

Warnock’s campaign said he was a youth pastor in 1995 who was not part of the decision to invite Castro to speak. 

Factcheck.org found that his comments about the police referred to the officers who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, not all law enforcement.

Another ad, released Friday, showed Warnock at the pulpit declaring, “Nobody can serve God and the military.” Warnock said at a press conference earlier in the week that the ad misrepresented his interpretation of the gospel of Matthew, which teaches that no one can serve two masters. 

“What I was expressing was the fact that as a person of faith, my ultimate allegiance is to God. And therefore, whatever else that I may commit myself to, it has to be built on a spiritual foundation,” he said. 

It’s fine to go through sermons from a 25-year ministry career to establish a pattern of speech or behavior. It’s not fine to cherry pick out of context statements to try and create a firestorm where there really isn’t one.

Warnock wrote a book in 2013 titled “The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety, and Public Witness (Religion, Race, and Ethnicity).” The book’s description reads:

In The Divided Mind of the Black Church, Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., traces the historical significance of the rise and development of black theology as an important conversation partner for the black church. Calling for honest dialogue between black and womanist theologians and black pastors, this fresh theological treatment demands a new look at the church’s essential mission.

That sounds pretty Christian to me.

I realize that Democrats love abortion, and Warnock is a Democrat, but Loeffler is trying too hard to project herself as something she isn’t, and casting Warnock as something he isn’t.

She’d do better to lay off the attack ads and stick to her own credentials, because she’s driving people to look more closely at Warnock, and they may just like what they see.