Ky. Governor, Key Ally Of Religious Right, Defeated In Quest For Second Term.

 
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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), who frequently promoted Christian nationalist causes while in office, was defeated in his bid for a second term Nov. 5.

Bevin lost to Democrat Andy Beshear in a close race, with fewer than 5,200 votes separating the two. Initially, Bevin refused to concede, insisting that the race was too close to call, but on Nov. 14, admitted he had lost.

Days before the election, President Donald Trump traveled to Kentucky for a rally and begged voters to reelect Bevin, but to no avail. Bevin's loss was interpreted as a blow against Trump.

Bevin, who was elected in 2015, frequently pursued a Religious Right agenda while in office. On its "Wall of Separation" blog, Americans United listed some of Bevin's most prominent attacks on church-state separation.

They include:

* During his 2015 race, Bevin lauded law-breaking Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as "an inspiration ... to the children of America" and vowed to help her if elected. Once in office, Bevin issued an order removing county clerks' signatures from marriage licenses, an act Davis's attorney called a "great Christmas present for Kim Davis." (Rowan County voters had other ideas and booted Davis from office in 2018, but not before her actions cost Kentucky taxpayers more than $200,000 in legal fees.)

* In the wake of the horrific violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, Bevin suggested that further incidents could be avoided if the nation would base public school curricula on the Bible.

"When you go back a couple hundred years, in most instances, the only textbooks that were actually in our public schools were the Bible," Bevin told a radio talk show host. "The more we've removed any sense of spiritual obligation or moral higher authority ... the more we've removed things that are biblically taught from society, the more we've seen the kind of mayhem that we were just discussing."

* Bevin in 2017 signed legislation encouraging public schools to offer Bible classes. Americans United expressed concern, noting that the bill lacked provisions to ensure that the classes would be taught in a truly objective fashion. Bevin also signed a bill that AU said could lead to student groups in public schools discriminating against LGBTQ students and others in the name of religion.

Americans United had good reason to be suspicious of Bevin's motives. In October, he made a video urging public...

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