While President Joe Biden was citing the local legacy of voting rights during the beginning of his speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, people on social media swore that he might have misspoken when he mentioned Ebenezer Baptist Church, the iconic house of worship from where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach his sermons.
Discussing the sacred places he and Vice President Kamala Harris — whom he may or may not have referred to as “President Harris” multiple times — visited before they each delivered their separate addresses, Biden listed Ebenezer Baptist Church. But it was his pronunciation of the Protestant Christian denomination that caught social media users — especially Black Twitter — off-guard.
Unfortunately, Ebenezer “Bastard” Church, is how a growing number of Twitter users claimed they heard it.
Watch the video below and you be the judge.
Of course, without question, Biden undoubtedly meant to perfectly and clearly pronounce the name Ebenezer Baptist Church.
But during a young week that has already been replete with bad news — from the deadly fire in the Bronx to the sobering suspicion that the president’s vehement defense of voting rights may be coming months too late — a few moments of silly Twitter banter never hurt anyone.
In all seriousness, Biden’s remarks — as forceful as they may have been — were largely greeted by voting rights activists and advocates as hollow gestures that came months after calls for more deliberate action.
With the coalition of voting rights activists deciding against attending the speeches as a way to draw attention to the need for concrete Congressional action and not rhetoric, Biden and Harris spoke from Atlanta University Center (AUC) Consortium on the grounds of Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College.
Stacey Abrams, an AUC graduate of Spelman College and current candidate for governor of Georgia, was also absent despite her reputation as a voting rights legend for playing an outsized role in swinging the state blue and securing Biden’s election in 2020. Unlike the other voting rights activists, though, Abrams chalked up her inability to attend to a scheduling conflict.
She suggested that any effort to combat restrictive election laws is a step in the right direction, no matter when it happens.
“The fight for voting rights takes persistence,” Abrams tweeted before quoting Martin Luther King to underscore the urgency of the moment and movement for fair voting rights: “The clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now before it is too late.”
Abrams then thanked Biden “for refusing to relent until the work is finished” and welcomed him back to Georgia, “where we get good done.”
Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright, however, put it a bit more bluntly during an interview on CNN on Tuesday morning: “We don’t need another speech. What we need is work.”
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