With Kentucky’s gubernatorial elections taking place in two weeks, and the two major party candidates dead even in recent polling, incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is doing anything he can to secure an edge.
That includes cozying up with conservative Christian leaders at the Governor’s Mansion. But not for anything election related (wink wink)…
Several dozen pastors, some with their spouses, filed into the mansion Monday morning for an hour meeting with Bevin and his running mate, state Sen. Ralph Alvarado.
When asked if the gathering was sponsored by Bevin’s campaign, the state or someone else, a spokeswoman for Bevin’s press office said only that it was a private event. A spokesman for Bevin’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
I, too, hold all my private meetings at a giant house funded by taxpayers.
While Bevin didn’t tell the Christians to get their congregations to vote for him — that would be illegal — he just told them how much he loved Jesus. Which is totally something a governor does on a random Monday morning while entertaining guests.
Richard Sams, pastor of Calhoun Baptist Church in McLean County, said after Monday’s meeting that it was “a religious event — an opportunity to worship God and pray and ask God’s blessing on our great commonwealth,” said Sams.
He said the campaign was mentioned “a little bit” by Bevin and Alvarado, “asking God’s blessings on what is best for our state.”
“We heard about their faith and background and who they are as individuals,” he said.
Another pastor said Bevin also talked about his anti-abortion views.
In short, Bevin didn’t appear in pulpits around the state asking Christians to vote for him. He let the pastors come to him, where he made his pitch as the only option for conservative Christians too selfish and ignorant to do what’s best for the entire state.
The Lexington Herald-Leader notes that the invitation sent to pastors asked them not to record “any aspect of the gathering.” Wouldn’t want anyone knowing what Bevin says to Christians behind closed doors.
A more liberal pastor, who attended Bevin’s September gathering, said this was absolutely a campaign event.
“The message was clear that the pastors present were encouraged to vote for and work for Bevin’s re-election” said [Rev. Nancy Jo] Kemper, who lost a Democratic bid for Congress in 2016 against Republican incumbent Andy Barr.
Keep in mind that Democrat Steve Beshear is also a Christian. He’s a leader in his church. But Republicans don’t care if you’re Christian. They only care if you’re the right kind of Christian. These days, that means one willing to overlook all of the president’s sins while making sure Christians always get special treatment. Bevin’s No-Jews-Welcome-Here invitation is a perfect example of that. It’s not like atheists or Muslims or other non-Christian groups are getting this kind of time to hear Bevin’s pitch.
Over the years, Kentucky has struggled because of Bevin’s irrational conservatism. He’s cut government services, used his office to constantly promote Christianity, and blamed mass shootings on legalized abortion. When teachers protested a lack of funding in 2018, he claimed they should be blamed for a hypothetical sexual assault of a child. (As recently as last week, he blamed the media for quoting him accurately.)
He’s the sort of leader whose public Christianity is meant to override his complete inability to do his job. Unfortunately, too many people in Kentucky fell for it. They have a chance to correct their mistake in two weeks. But it’ll require at least some Christians willing to put decent governance over constant shout-outs to their faith.
(Thanks to Dan for the link)