Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s gubernatorial candidate, spoke at the Atlanta church of a pastor who previously told a Baltimore congregation to make gay people “uncomfortable in [their] sin.”
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church senior pastor Jamal H. Bryant, who has repeatedly praised the antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, has promoted Abrams’ visit on Twitter several times in recent days, saying it will be “historic” and that she will be Georgia’s “next governor.”
Bryant invited all the young girls in the congregation to the front of the sanctuary to hear Abrams speak in the middle of his church service, lavishing praise on Abrams during his introduction of her. “Let me ask that everybody pull your phone out for me, please,” Bryant said before Abrams addressed his congregation. “I want our next governor to go viral from New Birth. Amen. I want her team to see that there was a bump in social media because of her presence from today.”
“It is my privilege to warmly welcome to this pulpit, to this sanctuary, to the most powerful church in the entire state of Georgia my Spelman [College] sister, an amazing trailblazer, someone God anointed from birth for this moment,” the pastor went on.
The pastor made headlines earlier this year when Fox News Digital discovered his previous comments about gay marriage while he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker for a ticketed, “invite-only” event at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) convention.
In 2012, Bryant told the Baltimore Empowerment Temple congregation that “homosexuality is not the only sin, but it is a sin,” and that it is their “responsibility” to make gay people and other sinners “uncomfortable in [their] sin.”
He went on to criticize former President Obama for supporting gay marriage and failing to warn Black pastors, leaving them feeling surprised and betrayed. Obama was “black and wrong” and “black and out of order,” he told the congregation.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) endorsed Abrams earlier this year, saying she “has been a strong ally to the LGBTQ+ community, fighting against regressive, anti-equality legislation in the Georgia House of Representatives and supporting policies like nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Georgians and marriage equality.”
In her speech, Abrams stated that Georgians have been “living in a state where the roof has been leaking and the basement floods a lot” for the past two decades and have been told to accept it.
“The leak,” according to Abrams, is the state’s refusal to pay teachers who earn an average of $53,497 per year – more than double the 2019 state poverty line of $26,172 – a “living wage,” the “refusal to invest in” Georgia communities to address high housing costs, and “mass incarceration” in the Peach State being “on the rise” while “the road to redemption is getting shorter.”
“So the decision we have to make in the next 51 days is whether to invest in these young women in front of me, replace the roof, and fix the plumbing, or give it back to the mortgage broker.” Abrams stated, encouraging congregation members to vote early.
Abrams concluded her speech by saying, “With your help and prayer, Dr. Bryant, with your help on Nov. 8, I’ll fight for you.”
Later in the day, Abrams attended a campaign event in Georgia with Bryant, who was dressed in a black long-sleeve shirt with Abrams’ face on it.
Bryant has also praised Farrakhan, who has espoused antisemitic rhetoric for decades, including calling Jews “wicked” and comparing them to termites by declaring himself “anti-termite.” Bryant interviewed the Nation of Islam leader in 2015 and called him “one of our people’s greatest leaders.”
The numbers show that incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is maintaining a steady lead over Abrams as the election nears its conclusion, but the race is far from over.
The two Peach State politicians are facing off in an election rematch after Abrams was defeated by Kemp for governor in a bruising battle in 2018.