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'Is He a Christian?' — Tony Dungy Asks of Pro-Choice Pastor Raphael Warnock

Michael Foust | Contributor | Thursday, December 10, 2020
'Is He a Christian?' — Tony Dungy Asks of Pro-Choice Pastor Raphael Warnock

'Is He a Christian?' — Tony Dungy Asks of Pro-Choice Pastor Raphael Warnock

Football analyst and former NFL coach Tony Dungy sparked a debate on social media Wednesday by questioning if Atlanta pastor and U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is a Christian due to his pro-choice views.

Dungy, an NBC analyst and former Indianapolis Colts head coach, was reacting to a comment by a Twitter follower who tagged Dungy and approvingly quoted Warnock as saying, “I am a pro-choice pastor.”

“I like that he makes it public,” the person said of Warnock’s pro-choice beliefs.

Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, is the Democratic candidate in the Jan. 5 runoff against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican.

Dungy responded that Warnock “may be a pastor” but “My question would be ‘Is he a Christian?’ That is, does he follow the teachings of Jesus and does he believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God?” (Dungy originally called Warnock “Warren” but blamed it on auto-correct.)

When pressed on his comments, Dungy responded, “I would think it would be difficult for someone who believes that God sees us when we are in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) to think that it is OK to choose not to bring that life to fruition.”

One person argued abortion should be legal because a woman “should choose what happens” to her body. Dungy wrote back, “Please read Psalm 139:13-16. Then tell me if you think God puts babies in the womb or man does? If you believe they randomly get there then I have no argument. But if you believe God puts them there, then how does anyone have a right to ‘choose’ which ones survive?”

Another person defended Warnock by saying advocating “for a right” is not necessarily “an endorsement of a moral wrong.” Dungy responded, “What if I was advocating for the right to kill someone who was already born? Would that be morally OK? Of course not. The only question in this debate is what we think of the unborn baby? Is it a life or is it not?”

Still another person said it was “stupid” to “question whether, if you are pro-choice” you are “a follower of Christ.” Dungy replied, “Because many people do it doesn’t make it right. There were many Christian leaders who didn’t denounce slavery and apartheid, who remained silent about Jim Crow segregation laws or actually supported them because it was politically correct. That doesn’t make it right.”

One person challenged Dungy on his definition of Christian.

“A Christian is someone who dedicates their life to the service of the poor, the sick, and the marginalized. Someone who lives without judgment or lies. This applies to about 0 percent of conservative ‘Christians,’” the person wrote.

Dungy replied, “A Christian is someone who believes Jesus is the son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins. They follow God’s teachings and use the word of God to make all their decisions. I don’t know how many people in the world that applies to but there are many.”

Alveda King, an author and pro-life activist, also questioned the beliefs of Warnock this week. She is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.

“He is doing such a disservice to his own congregation — to the women and the men and the families, the children, and his community,” King told Faithwire. “He should be giving them alternatives: ‘There are better ways to live. Let me as pastor of this church help you so you don’t have to kill a baby and hurt your own body.’”

Warnock, she added, “should offer real, genuine service to his parishioners that cannot include abortion. God said choose life. He didn’t give any excuses for not choosing life.”


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Halleran/Staff

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

'Is He a Christian?' — Tony Dungy Asks of Pro-Choice Pastor Raphael Warnock