Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae dismissed a right-wing activist’s suggestion to ban him from church performances for supporting Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), a pastor with progressive views on abortion rights.
After Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative student organization Turning Point USA, said last month that Lecrae “should never be allowed” to perform at churches because of his support for Warnock, Lecrae replied that the conservative firebrand couldn’t “cancel God’s plans.”
“Even on a spiritual level, it’s like bro, who are you?” Lecrae, a Grammy-award winning musician with a significant following in evangelical Christian circles, said on Friday’s episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast.
“If God wants to use me, he’s gonna use me. What are you talking about? You can’t stop the hand of God.”
The recent tiff between Kirk and Lecrae dates back to the Atlanta-based rapper’s decision to perform at a December rally for Warnock. The Democrat, who leads Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s former Atlanta church, has described himself as a “pro-choice pastor.”
Kirk claimed Lecrae “wanted to be loved and accepted by the Democratic power establishment more than standing up for truth.”
“That’s the guy who we’re listening to on [Christian radio station] K-LOVE, who we’re supposed to look up to, who, in my personal opinion, should never be allowed to perform at another church after advocating for Raphael Warnock,” Kirk said during an appearance at a California evangelical church in late January.
Lecrae said Friday that Kirk’s attempt to “cancel” him amounts to “racist rhetoric.”
“You represent one of the largest majority-white institutions and organizations out there and you’re saying, ‘Don’t invite this Black man into another church again?’” he told “Higher Learning” hosts Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay. “All the white supremacy wrapped up in that is crazy, that they don’t even see it. That’s wild to me.”
The rapper said it’s “sad” that Kirk has entangled Christianity with a political party so thoroughly that a person who votes another way is “now some sort of heretic or the Antichrist.”
“What it tells me is you haven’t done the research to understand why Black people vote in the way they do. [You’re] taking this higher moral ground as it pertains to pro-life as if babies in a womb are more important than Tamir Rice outside the womb,” he added, referring to a Black 12-year-old boy killed by a Cleveland police officer in 2014. The officer who killed Rice was fired, but not criminally charged in the shooting.
“You got the higher moral ground? How about we care about it all, and we’ll make the decisions in the midst of everything going on that we feel like best suits our situation and our circumstances,” the rapper said.
Kirk’s TPUSA is a nationwide organization for College Republicans that has struggled to quell white supremacist influence in its ranks. In November 2019, Kirk, an evangelical Christian, teamed up with Virginia’s Liberty University to create the Falkirk Center, a think tank that aims to play “offense against the secular left.”
Lecrae has become more outspoken about his discomfort with white evangelicals’ unwavering loyalty to the Republican Party and their reluctance to confront systemic racism. He’s criticized members of his white evangelical fan base who insist that he “just stick to the gospel” instead of speaking up about police brutality against Black Americans.
In a 2015 video filmed with the popular evangelical preacher John Piper, Lecrae said he experienced deep regret about helping a former girlfriend obtain an abortion. But recently, he’s expressed that abortion is not the black-and-white issue some conservatives make it out to be.
What if the Christians who want to reduce the number of abortions, supported funding health care for women, dealt with the systemic racism that creates poverty for women of color, and addressed the income gap between White people and people of color.
— Lecrae (@lecrae) November 1, 2020
“I felt like the church was implicitly telling me that the most important issue was abortion, so I became a mouthpiece for that,” he wrote in his 2020 book, “I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith.” “Despite making videos about my own personal history with abortion, I always sympathized with the women who had to make impossible choices about their babies and the quality of life they would be born into.”
“Do I agree with terminating a life? If you blanket it like that, of course not,” he wrote. But he went on to suggest that the conversation deserves more nuance. Some of his Black Christian friends believe God is not just concerned with souls but also with bodies, he wrote. Their political morality also includes issues such as education, health care, economics and criminal justice.
“Many Christians of color feel the shaming of being told that if they have these concerns, they don’t equal the concerns emphasized in conservative circles. We are told to pick what’s ‘most important.’”
“Political privilege is the ability not to care about certain issues because they don’t directly affect you or because you don’t have categories to explain them,” he added.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.