Georgia senatorial candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) hosted the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a guest preacher at his Atlanta church back in 2014, Fox News reported Thursday night. Wright, whom Warnock has defended in the past, was once a pastor for former President Barack Obama and has a history of making antisemitic and other inflammatory statements.
A flyer for the event discovered on Facebook advertised Wright as a guest preacher at Warnock’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the same church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once a pastor, Fox News reports. The flyer was posted to Facebook on September 8, 2014, and states that Wright was to speak at the church on September 10.
A spokesman for his election opponent, incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), slammed Warnock’s recently unearthed action from 2014.
“Not only did Raphael Warnock praise Jeremiah Wright’s ‘God Damn America’ sermon, he thought it was so great that he invited him to Ebenezer Baptist to deliver it,” Loeffler’s communications director, Stephen Lawson, told Fox News Thursday night. “Does Georgia really want a U.S. senator who thinks God should damn America?”
Warnock defended Wright in a 2008 Fox News interview, which came after a resurfaced video of Wright delivering a 2003 sermon titled “Confusing God and Government,” in response to the politically divisive U.S. invasion of Iraq that year.
“Not God bless America; God damn America,” Wright said at the time. “That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating her citizens as less than human. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme.”
Warnock called it a “disservice” to the country to harp on old soundbites, according to Fox News. This would come years before his own statements would resurface during his Senate campaign, which have especially been used for fodder in Republican advertisements against his candidacy.
“We celebrate Rev. Wright in the same way that we celebrate the truth-telling tradition of the Black church, which when preachers tell the truth, very often it makes people uncomfortable,” he said.
Wright became the center of controversy in 2009 when he blamed Jews for preventing him from talking with then-President Obama. Obama had distanced himself from the preacher over his “divisive” comments.
Warnock, despite his repeated defenses of the controversial preacher, has denounced antisemitism and, notably, was endorsed last week by the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, a progressive Jewish group.
Currently, there is a set of twin U.S. Senate runoff elections in the Peach State happening on January 5, which will determine which party controls the Senate at the beginning of President-elect Joe Biden’s fast-approaching presidency. For the past couple of weeks, Georgians have been casting absentee ballots and began in-person early voting on Monday.
The state’s other Senate race is between incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) and Democrat Jon Ossoff. If Democrats sweep both seats, they will control 50 out of the 100 seats in the upper chamber and have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Pulling off such a hat trick would likely make confirming Biden’s Cabinet picks slightly easier for the Democrats.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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New York City Dems Push Law to Allow 800,000 Non-Citizens to Vote in Municipal Elections
The New York City Council will vote on December 9 on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections
New York’s Democratic party is battling over the constitutionality of voter laws. On December 9, the New York City Council will vote on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections.
“Around 808,000 New York City residents who have work permits or are lawful permanent residents would be eligible to vote under the legislation, which has the support of 34 of 51 council members, a veto-proof majority” reports Fox News.
“It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a sponsor of the bill and Democrat who represents the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, told the New York Times. Rodriguez immigrated from the Dominican Republic and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer for the mayor’s office, said at a hearing on the bill in September that the law could violate the New York State Constitution, which states that voters must be U.S. citizens age 18 or older.
Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated he could veto the bill following the September hearing.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly get our hands on to help immigrant New Yorkers—including undocumented folks—but…I don’t believe it is legal,” de Blasio told WNYC radio at the time.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams, however, submitted testimony to the September hearing in favor of the bill. “In a democracy, nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote and to say who represents you and your community in elected office…Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right.”
The legislation was first introduced two years ago, but had not yet gained traction due to the legal concerns.
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