The Rev. Raphael Warnock — head pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and one of two Democrats vying to become newly minted senators in the Georgia runoffs in January — first became a national name over the summer when he gave the June eulogy for Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was shot and killed after a confrontation with Atlanta police officers.
During the speech, he attracted headlines for saying America was dealing with two viruses: COVID-19 and COVID-1619, referring to the year slaves first arrived in what’s now the United States.
“We’ve been trying to beat back this virus of racism since 1619, when 20 slaves arrived on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia,” Warnock declared.
“You don’t have to be shot down by an officer for racism to kill you.”
“We’ve been trying to beat back this virus of racism since 1619 when 20 slaves arrived on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia”
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 23, 2020
No, you don’t. You could also be ripped out of the womb.
The racial imbalance of abortion is something the Democratic Party doesn’t like talking about, and not just because it doesn’t believe unborn humans are, in fact, human beings. Statistics have shown black women are up to four times more likely to abort their children; in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that more black children were aborted in New York City than were born alive.
Those are some pretty stark numbers — and they explain why 25 black ministers slammed Warnock for his support of abortion rights in an open letter Friday.
“Unborn Black, Brown and White lives are so much more than clumps of cells, burdensome inconveniences, or health problems,” the ministers wrote, according to Fox News.
While the ministers said they “applaud[ed] your commendable efforts to share Christ while pursuing political solutions to our most pressing problems today,” they wrote they were “compelled to confront your most recent statements concerning abortion.”
“They are sacred human persons endowed by God with inalienable dignity and worth,” the pastors wrote. “We implore you to uphold the Biblical defense of life and to fight against the systemic racism of abortion.”
“You have gone on the record saying that you are a ‘pro-choice pastor’ who will ‘always fight for reproductive justice.’ You have publicly expressed your views that abortion is an exercise of ‘human agency and freedom’ that is fully consistent with your role as a shepherd of God’s people,” the letter read.
“We believe these statements represent grave errors of judgment and a lapse in pastoral responsibility, and we entreat you to reconsider them. As a Christian pastor and as a Black leader, you have a duty to denounce the evil of abortion, which kills a disproportionate number of Black children. Your open advocacy of abortion is a scandal to the faith and to the Black community.”
The letter laid out the biblical case against abortion (Psalm 139 and the Seventh Commandment — “Thou shalt not kill” — among them), the disproportionate number of black lives claimed through abortion and the white supremacist underpinnings of the early abortion movement.
“Abortion decimates Black communities, disrupts Black families and inflicts untold harm on Black women. Black women and Black families need your advocacy; they need your protection, and they need your support,” the ministers wrote.
“But they do not need Black pastors making excuses for the racism in the abortion industry. Killing Black lives, especially killing unborn Black lives, does nothing but brutalize and scar vulnerable Black communities who are already suffering so much.”
The Warnock campaign didn’t dispute the content of the letter so much as it did the provenance of some of the signatories, several of whom have openly supported Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Warnock’s opponent.
Alveda King, the niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is an outspoken pro-life activist who contributes to Fox News. Bishop Garland Hunt, meanwhile, appeared at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump.
“Reverend Warnock believes a patient’s room is too small a place for a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. government and that these are deeply personal health care decisions — not political ones,” Warnock campaign spokesman Michael Brewer said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“He also believes those who are concerned about life ought to be focused on the incredibly high rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality, and working to make sure we are expanding access to health care, not taking it away.”
Which is Grade-A campaign copy, except that it addresses not a single point in the letter and none of these solutions exists in a mutually exclusive universe where — combined with few, if any, restrictions on abortion — these inequalities would decrease.
“The message of the letter is relevant no matter who some of the signatories support, even though there are Republicans, independents, and Democrats who have signed it,” the Rev. Dean Nelson, who organized the letter, said, according to Fox News. “Rev. Warnock’s extreme embrace and advocacy for abortion conflicts with biblical teaching and true justice for humanity. We urge him to reconsider his support for it.”
But how could abortion be part of the systemic racism Warnock talked about in his “COVID-1619” speech? After all, the people who support access to abortion are on his side, right? Just don’t look at the statistics and everything will be fine.
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