Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) defended Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock’s claim that “nobody can serve God and the military” on Wednesday, calling criticism of Warnock’s comments “a disgrace and shameful.”
Omar—who has her own history of controversial comments about U.S. troops—came to Warnock’s defense, after the Washington Free Beacon reported on his 2011 sermon in which he argued there is a conflict between serving God and the military. Video of the sermon drew sharp criticism from Republicans this week, including calls for Warnock to drop out of the race from Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).
Omar said in a Twitter post that Warnock was quoting biblical Scripture from “Mathews [sic] 6:24.”
“The lies and smears of the GOP have no boundaries, but this is a disgrace and shameful,” she wrote.
In his sermon, Warnock, a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said, “America, nobody can serve God and the military. … You can’t serve God and money. You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time.”
The passage from the Gospel of Matthew states: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money,” according to the English Standard Version translation. The passage does not mention the military.
Warnock has also argued that his military comments were taken from the Bible.
“[The sermon] was about priorities and about how one orders your priority so that you can live a moral life,” Warnock said during an online press conference on Wednesday. “I think it’s unfortunate and shameful that they are trying to distort not only my message but the message of Scripture.”
Omar came under fire last year after she claimed that U.S. troops killed “thousands of Somalis” in the Battle of Mogadishu, a number that experts said was exaggerated.
“In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan,” wrote Omar, in response to another Twitter user who was discussing the U.S. casualties in the battle.
Col. Danny McKnight, who commanded U.S. troops in Mogadishu, told the Washington Examiner last year that he was “truly offended” by Omar’s comments and said the military was fighting insurgents to protect civilians.
“I really am offended, truly offended, by her comment and her thought that thousands were killed by us. Not true. Not true at all,” McKnight said.
Although the death toll for Somalis is disputed, mainstream sources place it between 133 and less than 1,000, according to Fox News.
Omar also drew criticism last year after she was seen giggling in the background of a press conference while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) was discussing the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq.