ATLANTA — Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock,the pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, weighed in Sunday on the issue of church reopenings, indicating he felt it was not yet the time.
The leading Democratic figure in the open race for Sen. Kelly Loeffler's seat, Warnock targeted President Trump's comments this week which pushed for states to allow churches to reopen.
In a video statement posted to Twitter, the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta said that "we should be listening to medical experts and to the science" and "in spite of the president's recent declarations, many of us will not be reopening the houses of worship that we lead any time soon."
“My faith has no quarrel with science. Those of us entrusted with the care of souls know that it is our sacred responsibility to save lives," Warnock said. "After all, the body is itself a temple. And the church is the people, not the building.”
Warnock added that "worship is not a wedge issue."
"It is a sacred undertaking. And in my tradition, it quite literally means ‘the work of the people.’ So, while others are playing games, we will continue doing the work week after week," he said. "Feeding the hungry and the homeless. Looking for those who are vulnerable. Delivering groceries to our seniors. Providing masks and hand sanitizer to our frontline workers. The doors are closed. Our hearts and our hands are open.”
Warnock is among the contenders for the November special election of Sen. Johnny Isakson's old seat, currently held by Loeffler after her appointment by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this year.
It will pit an open field of Republicans - including another leading figure in the race, Rep. Doug Collins - and Democrats against one another. If no candidate gains more than a 50% majority of the vote, it will go to a runoff in January.