Raphael Warnock, the Georgia Democrat Senate challenger gunning for Kelly Loeffler’s seat previously worked at a church with communist ties. Warnock was a youth paster with Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem who proudly hosted communist leader Fidel Castro in 1995. Castro received a warm welcome from the church where he delivered a powerful speech in which he, “blasted the United States with vigor,” according to the Miami Herald.
The lead pastor for the church, Calvin Butts, proudly defended the decision to invite the Communist leader to deliver a speech at the church. Butts is still the head pastor of the church.
In a report from Fox News:
Butts defended the decision to invite Castro, arguing it was “in our tradition to welcome those who are visionary, who are revolutionary, and who seek the freedom of all of the people around the world.” The church, where Butts is still pastor, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Besides Butts, former U.S. Reps. Charles Rangel and Jose Serrano were also in attendance.
Loeffler’s campaign argued the Castro speech was part of a broader pattern of Warnock embracing radical, left-wing ideas. “Raphael Warnock celebrating Fidel Castro and welcoming him to his church is just the latest example in a long line of his radical, far-left, socialist positions,” said Loeffler spokesperson Stephen Lawson.
Sister Rosemari Mealy, who belonged to the National Alliance of Third World Journalists, also prompted applause at the event when she introduced the “great, most honorable commandante, el jefe Fidel Castro.”
Another speaker at the event drew cheers when he asked whether the audience would prefer to see Castro or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Harlem. “We invited Fidel, we disinvite Giuliani,” the unidentified speaker said to applause. The audience also applauded when the speaker hailed the Cuban revolution, saying it “opened its doors to those who have had to flee from persecution in the United States.”
The speaker also called Castro a “hero.” Raphael Warnock is in a tight race for one of Georgia’s Senate seats. The race has moved on to a run-off election in January against Republican Kelly Loeffler. Democrats are hoping to win both seats in Georgia to secure a majority in the United States Senate.