ATLANTA — Herschel Walker begins every campaign rally the same way.
“I want to start by acknowledging my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he says. “Because if you don’t acknowledge him, he’s not going to acknowledge you.”
For Raphael Warnock, “a vote is a prayer about the kind of world we want to live in.”
“And our prayers are stronger when we pray together,” he continues.
In Georgia’s bruising race for the U.S. Senate, Walker and Warnock don’t agree on much. But there is one characteristic both men share — a deep Christian faith.
Both were raised in devout households. Warnock has risen through the ranks of the Black church to lead the most famous house of worship in the civil rights struggle. Walker a born-again Christian, credits God with lifting him out of a dark period in his life when he battled mental illness.
Still, they speak about religion differently, in ways that reflect both their own beliefs and the voters they are trying to reach.
Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University, said Warnock hails from the progressive, social justice tradition of the Black church while Walker speaks in the fiery cadence of a country preacher, apt to appeal more to evangelical voters.
“Herschel Walker is tapping into the community of faith and using coded language that says to white evangelical voters, ‘I’m one of you,’ ” Gillespie said.
‘Warrior for God’