Pastor Jamal Bryant slams Herschel Walker as ex-football star takes slight lead in Georgia Senate race

Pastor Jamal Bryant
Pastor Jamal Bryant | Facebook/ New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker showed a slight lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a new poll released Monday, just hours after Pastor Jamal Bryant, one of the state’s most influential black megachurch pastors, slammed the former football star as the “lowest caricature of a stereotypical, broken black man” from his pulpit Sunday.

The poll, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the University of Georgia, was conducted from Oct. 16–27. It reflects responses from 1,022 randomly selected Georgians who are registered and likely to vote in the Nov. 8 midterm election. Walker currently leads Warnock, 46% to 45%, which is within the poll’s 3.1% margin of error.  As of Monday, more than 1.5 million Georgians had voted, setting a new record for early voting in the state, WSB-TV 2 reported.

Warnock, who also remains the leader of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. both served as pastors, was elected as Georgia’s first black senator on Jan. 5. 2021, when he defeated then-Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a closely contested runoff.

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In his takedown of Walker, Bryant argued that Warnock, who is a longtime civil rights activist, is the better choice.

U.S. Republican Senate candidate for Georgia, Herschel Walker, speaks at a campaign event on Sept. 9, 2022, in Gwinnett, Georgia.
U.S. Republican Senate candidate for Georgia, Herschel Walker, speaks at a campaign event on Sept. 9, 2022, in Gwinnett, Georgia. | Megan Varner/Getty Images

“Ladies and gentlemen, when the Republican Party of Georgia moved Herschel Walker from Texas to Georgia so that he could run for Senate, it’s because change was taking too fast in the post-Antebellum South,” Bryant declared from his pulpit at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, as congregants cheered in support.

“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 Senate at the exact same time. So, they figured that they would delude us by picking somebody who they thought would represent us better with a football than with a degree in philosophy.

“They thought we were so slow, that we were so stupid, that we would elect the lowest caricature of a stereotypical, broken black man as opposed to somebody who is educated and erudite and focused.

“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 pay for abortions, where to buy a gun, and you think they not gon’ tell him how to vote?" Bryant continued. "In 2022, we don’t need a Walker, we need a runner. We need somebody to run and tell the truth about Jan. 6. Georgia, I need you to know, the slave Negro y’all are used to don’t live here no more. We can think for ourselves, function for ourselves, and vote for ourselves! Why? Because we don’t need a Walker.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, speaks at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where he also serves as pastor on Jan. 17, 2022.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, speaks at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where he also serves as pastor on Jan. 17, 2022. | YouTube/The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Walker's team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Christian Post on Tuesday. In recent weeks, Walker has faced allegations that he pressured two of his former girlfriends to get abortions, but he denied those claims.

The poll data shows that almost half of all Georgia voters view Warnock as more honest and trustworthy, while only 37% view Walker in the same light.

Peter Strangis, 41, an independent voter from Atlanta, told The New York Times that while he didn’t trust either of the candidates, his vote will be going to Walker.

“Herschel is a former college football player and I don’t know if he’s ever read a book before, and Raphael Warnock doesn’t have any of his own original thoughts — I don’t know what to say,” said Strangis, who works in sales. “Voting for them is like choosing between broccoli and cauliflower.”

Although Walker has received endorsements from the pro-life grassroots organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, he was accused earlier this year of pressuring a former girlfriend to receive an abortion in 2009, a claim he has denied.

Samuel Sey, a black conservative blogger, responded to Bryant's comments in a Twitter thread, suggesting that Walker would be a better option than Warnock.

"But that’s not because Walker is a good man. He isn’t. He just isn’t as bad as Warnock. Almost anyone would be better than Warnock," Sey wrote. "Hershel Walker is an absentee father who’s apparently paid women to abort his children. But Jamal Bryant didn’t address these issues. Instead, he pathetically suggested that Walker is an Uncle Tom. Why? Why didn’t he address the real problems with Hershel Walker?"

"I think it’s because if he addressed Hershel Walker’s real problems and scandals, he would have to talk about the biggest issues facing black Americans — the issues black pastors like Jamal Bryant have been ignoring for decades: fatherlessness and abortion."

Warnock, who won a special election to fill the remainder of now-deceased Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson's term in 2021, has faced accusations of his own that have wound up in attack ads.

Warnock's ex-wife, Oulèye Ndoye, submitted a court filing this year suggesting that Warnock has "failed and refused to reimburse" his ex-wife for "childcare expenses for the children" that materialized during time periods when he had custody of their children.

Warnock "failed and refused to exercise his Parenting Time as previously agreed to and ordered," according to the filing, which notes that when he does have custody over his children, "he often solicits the assistance of caretakers and friends, thereby delegating his time to other individuals, rather than adhering to the 'Right of First Refusal' signed in the original parenting plan."

Resurfacing this campaign cycle has been a March 2020 incident between Warnock and Ndoye that occurred while their divorce was pending. His ex-wife told police that her ex-husband ran over her foot with his car. However, police were not shown any evidence that Warnock ran over her foot.

Warnock, who supports abortion rights, drew the ire of another former NFL player, outspoken pro-life Christian Benjamin Watson, in January after tweeting that he is a "pro-choice pastor" who "always believed that a patient’s room is way too small for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government.”

"A Pastor knows the value of human life," Watson tweeted. "A Senator knows how to support mother AND child. Sir, you know better. Stop being scared.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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