A group of Georgia pastors on Saturday accused Republican senator Kelly Loeffler of an "attack against the Black Church", over comments she made about Reverend Raphael Warnock, her Democratic challenger in the state's run-off election.
In an open letter, a coalition of some 100 religious leaders from across the state called on Ms Loeffler to withdraw her attacks on Mr Warnock, who she has previously branded "radical" and "socialist".
“We call on you to cease and desist your false characterisations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist’, when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterisations to be true, especially when taken in full context,” the letter reads.
“We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand,” it adds, according to The New York Times.
Ms Loeffler is an Atlanta businesswoman who was appointed to fill Georgia's empty Senate seat last year after Johnny Isakson, a Republican, stepped back from politics due to health problems.
She has gone after Mr Warnock on comments he made in the past suggesting that "nobody can serve God and the military". He claims that view is set out in Bible scripture.
But Ms Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat with no political experience, claims Mr Wanock's comments are evidence of his "radical" tendencies.
Responding to Saturday's letter on Twitter, Mr Warnock said his "faith is the foundation upon which I have built my life”.
He added: "It guides my service to my community and my country. @KLoeffler's attacks on our faith are not just disappointing – they are hurtful to Black churches across Georgia."
Ms Loeffler hit back: "No one attacked the Black church.
"We simply exposed your record in your own words. Instead of playing the victim, start answering simple questions about what you've said and who you've associated yourself with. If you can't – you shouldn't be running for US Senate."
Mr Warock, a senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr used to preach, has also come under fire from some of his colleagues over his views on abortion.
In a separate open letter published earlier this month, a group of 25 pastors said Mr Warnock's “open advocacy of abortion is a scandal to the faith and to the Black community”.
The battle between Mr Warnock and Ms Loeffler is one of two Senate races taking place in Georgia.
The other contest is between the Republican incumbent, senator David Perdue and his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff.
The 5 January elections will determine who controls the Senate.
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