When The New York Times respectfully touts a man's faith, he must be a leftist. Strange respect for religion reigned over the front page of Thursday’s paper for Sen. Raphael Warnock, the reverend who recently won reelection in Georgia runoff. The complimentary headline was "Warnock’s Rise Fueled by Pain, Faith and Flair."
The Times has found its latest left-wing “rising star,” as revealed in the fawning profile by Katie Glueck, “Raphael Warnock Is a Pastor and Politician Who Sees Voting as Prayer -- Raphael Warnock, a son of Savannah public housing who rose to become Georgia’s first Black senator, secured a full six-year term and a spot among Democrats’ rising stars.”
Religion is fine and good if it can be compared to progressive political action and Democrat election victories:
He likened voting to a “prayer for the world we desire,” and called democracy the “political enactment of a spiritual idea,” that everyone has a divine spark.
He invoked the legacies of civil rights heroes and “martyrs” who fought and sometimes died for the right to vote, even as he promised to pursue bipartisanship in pressing his policy ambitions.
He is a man of deep faith, the senior pastor at the Atlanta church where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. And he is also a political tactician who has long believed that “the church’s work doesn’t end at the church door. That’s where it starts.”
If Glueck has any qualms about Warnock’s clear call for mixing religion and politics, she doesn’t let on. After quoting praise from Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.
But Mr. Warnock, who blended his image as a social justice-minded pastor with a sense of humor and an emphasis on bipartisanship, also showed how a Georgia Democrat could win in a difficult political environment, even as every other statewide candidate in his party collapsed.
“‘Remaining the reverend’ was the phrase we used,” said Adam Magnus, Mr. Warnock’s lead ad maker. “It means remaining the unique person Raphael Warnock is. That is a combination of a moral sincerity, an empathy, a hard-working life story from where he started from to where he is now, and a relatability and a sense of humor.”
The Times is certainly helping amplify Warnock’s own messaging.
He gave his first sermon at the age of 11, and was deeply inspired by the legacy of Dr. King, whose church -- Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta -- Mr. Warnock now leads.
Glueck admired Warnock for using his left-wing brand of religion as a political weapon – not a stance the Times takes with conservative Christian politicians. He has an 8 percent score with the American Conservative Union.
In that contest, as in this year’s, Mr. Warnock leaned heavily into his identity as a pastor, making it harder for Republicans to cast him as a generic Democrat.
Glueck did Warnock a favor by gliding over his controversies, including his rocky relationship with his ex-wife.
In the 2020 Senate campaign, Republicans unsuccessfully tried to use Mr. Warnock’s career and past sermons to paint him as radically left wing. This year, they focused more on linking Mr. Warnock to President Biden. They also tried to make an issue of Mr. Warnock’s relationship with his ex-wife, with whom he has two young children.
Reporter Reid Epstein took another angle on Warnock as racial savior against “a decades-old system created to sustain segregationist power,” in Friday’s “Ruing Senate Loss, Georgia G.O.P. Asks if Runoff Rule Changes Backfired.” He didn't mention that "segregationist power" was the Democrats.