If it weren't for slavery, Kimberly Daniels might be somewhere in Africa, worshipping a tree. That's according to Daniels herself, a city council candidate in Jacksonville, Florida and a longtime minister who's taking heat after video clip of her controversial sermons was posted online.
Daniels, a Democrat running for a seat on the Jacksonville City Council in a runoff election May 17, has spoken openly about her past, which she says includes prostitution and drugs. But she only gained national attention after Truth Wins Out, a liberal group that fights anti-LGBT bias, posted a portion of one of her sermons online in which she made controversial remarks about slavery and Jewish people.
"I thank God for slavery," she says on the Truth Wins Out video during one sermon. "I thank God for the crack house. If it wasn't for the crack house, God wouldn't use me the way he is using me. And if it wasn't for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa worshiping a tree." In another clip, the bombastic candidate addresses Jewish people. "You can talk about the Holocaust, but the Jews own everything," she says.
The video is edited, however, and Daniels says the remarks on Jewish people were taken out of context. "It was meant to be positive. Because the Bible says God blesses those who blessed Israel," she told Fox30/Jax.com. Daniels could not be reached for comment today.
But Truth Wins Out says that response isn't good enough. "There is nothing she can say that would erase and change what she has said about Jewish and gay people," Wayne Besen, the group's executive director, told First Coast News. "She has no excuse," he said, "When you say things like that, you need to step down."
African American Ministers in Action, a liberal network of clergy affiliated with People for the American Way, asked voters not to show support for Daniels. "At African American Ministers in Action, our hope is that Americans will always have the opportunity to elect public officials who stand for respect and liberty, fairness and equality, and treat all people with the dignity that they deserve," Leslie Watson Malachi, the group's director, said in a statement. "We are disheartened by the advancement of a candidate who has instead chosen to be a voice of fear and intolerance. The people of Jacksonville deserve better."
Daniels' challenger, Republican David Taylor, could not be reached for comment.