The 2022 Georgia senatorial election is coming to an end in a week, and the polls seem to be deadlocked. The race between Sen. Raphael Warnock and former football player Herschel Walker is so tight, many community stakeholders and activists are using their voices to inspire people to get out early and cast their votes.
Rev. Jamal Bryant, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, used his platform in his megachurch to spread not only a get-out-to-vote message but why Walker is not a suitable choice for Georgians to place in the senator’s seat.
The fiery clergyman said the candidate is a plant selected to run by the GOP that will parrot their ideas.
“Ladies and gentlemen, when the Republican party of Georgia moved Herschel Walker from Texas to Georgia so that he could run for Senate,” he rationalized, “it’s because change was taking too fast in the post-Antebellum South. The state had been flipped blue and there are some principalities that were not prepared for a Black man and a Jewish man to go to the Senate at the exact same time.”
He continued, “So, they figured that they would delude us by picking somebody who they thought would in fact represent us better with a football than with a degree in philosophy.”
According to his biography, Warnock earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in 1991, a master’s degree in divinity, a master’s degree in philosophy, and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary.
Walker attended the University of Georgia but did not graduate. After playing for the University of Georgie Bulldogs, he opted to enter into professional football, where he had a 15-year career in the USFL and NFL, playing for the New Jersey Generals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
“They thought we were so slow, that we were so stupid, that we would elect the lowest caricature up a stereotypical broken Black man, as opposed to somebody who was educated and erudite and focused,” the preacher said in his Sunday, Oct. 30 sermon.
Bryant continued, saying, “Since Herschel Walker was 16 years old, white men been telling him what to do. Telling him what school to go to, where to live; where to eat; where to buy a house; where to run, where to sit down; where to sleep; where to pay for abortions; where to buy a gun; and they, you think they not gon’ tell him how to vote in 2022.”
Many pastors opt not to speak on politics from their pulpits because of IRS rules.
“In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates,” the IRS states on its website.
The wording on the website continues with: “Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one ‘which does not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
However, Bryant, in the tradition of many Black preachers, including the recently departed Dr. Calvin Butts and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believes social justice, civil rights and engaging the vote is a responsibility of the call.
Bryant, Butts, King and Warnock are all graduates of Morehouse College. Warnock started one of his first ministerial positions at Abyssinian Baptist Church, under the mentorship of Dr. Butts.
Bryant and Warnock served as chapel assistants under Dean Lawrence E. Carter Sr., who was recruited by King to attend Morehouse College in 1958. All five men have committed their lives to teaching the gospel as social justice, with Warnock even serving as the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King’s family church.
In Bryant’s post, he captioned why voting is urgent: “Brothers and sisters this is not a test, this is an actual emergency! If we don’t go vote, the clock of progress will be pushed backwards. Apathy is the greatest hope of white supremacy. Perform the revolutionary act of voting early! @raphaelwarnock @staceyabrams #georgia”
The video, from his Sunday morning service, continued to explain what citizens in the Peach State actually need going forth, and identifying what he believes they don’t.
“We don’t need a Walker, we need a runner,” Bryant said, playing on the candidate’s name. “We need somebody who gon’ run and tell the truth about January 6. We need somebody who gon’ run and push for the cancellation of student loan debts. We need somebody who gon’ run and make the former president respond to a subpoena.”
He continued, “We don’t need a Walker, we need somebody who will be steadfast, unmovable, always abounded, knowing that your labor is not in vain.”
He concluded the clip on his personal Instagram, saying, “Georgia, I need you to know the slave Negroes y’all are used to don’t live here no more. We can think for ourselves, function for ourselves, and vote for ourselves.”