Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Kentucky is a conservative state with a majority who identify as Christian. Since Andy Beshear first ran for governor in 2019, he’s made much of the fact that his grandfather and great-grandfather were Baptist preachers. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he exhorted in his speech to a raucous crowd at Fancy Farm. His kindness and empathy are character traits rooted in the Bible. Many of his prominent policy positions are not.

A recent TV campaign ad showed him in a West Kentucky church damaged by the tornado. It was the same one in which his grandfather preached. Andy Beshear often references God and quotes Scripture. However, just as an EF 4 tornado destroys buildings, verbal manipulation of clear Biblical teaching is dangerous and leaves bystanders in a mess.

We should be careful when assessing someone’s faith convictions. But when the Christian faith is manipulated to score political points, it invites critique. This is true regardless of political affiliation. The Bible teaches that God is the author of life (Genesis 1:26). He gives rules for human sexuality (I Corinthians 12:18-20), defines marriage as one man and one woman (Genesis 1:28), and warns against corrupting children (Matthew 18:6). If Scripture is authoritative for personal conduct, shouldn’t it be equally authoritative over public morality?

Beshear supports abortion on demand and in 2020 vetoed the Born-alive Bill which required life-saving treatment of a baby that survives an abortion. He tried to cancel a state contract in 2021 with Sunrise Children’s Services because they required their staff to abide by biblical sexual ethics. Beshear was the first Kentucky governor to speak at an LGBTQ rally in the Capitol, where he had his photo taken with the drag queen group called Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Last summer under Beshear’s leadership, the Kentucky Department of Education aggressively pushed a gender ideology agenda in public schools to kids as young as five and six years old. Earlier this year, the state legislature strongly pushed back by enacting SB 150, which banned sex education in grades K-5, gender ideology and sexual orientation indoctrination in all grades, boys in girls restrooms, and forced gender pronouns of gender dysphoric students. The bill also banned puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender mutilation surgery of minors. Beshear vetoed the bill, but was overridden on March 29.

None of Andy Beshear’s policy positions on these significant social issues align with God’s moral standards. Many of Beshear’s campaign ads are denying this. He denied that gender transitions were happening to minors in Kentucky. A letter from the University of Kentucky Transform Clinic contradicted this claim. His campaign defended the picture with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and charged critics with dividing Kentuckians and put them against one another instead of seeing them all as “God’s children.”

It is true that we are all made in God’s image, which endows each of us with dignity and value. However, not everything human beings do is dignifying. There are some things that should not be celebrated, some policies that should not be enacted, and some organizations that respectable leaders should not align with. And we believe that good leaders know the difference.

A recent Beshear TV ad straw mans Daniel Cameron’s pro-life commitment by saying that he’d force an 9 year old rape victim to have the child. “Cameron believes rapists deserve more rights than their victims.” Of course, nobody believes this. Kentucky has an abortion exception which allows abortion to preserve the mothers life. Kentucky is a pro-life state. While Beshear’s rhetoric might stick in Louisville, it won’t in the rest of the state.

Social issues are playing a large role in this year’s governor’s race. But the source of the candidates’ values is another battle that’s taking place behind the scenes. In an interview with Kentucky Today Daniel Cameron said “We see there’s a spiritual battle occurring in this country. There is no doubt about that. That spiritual battle is attacking the family, and it is attacking our communities. I think it’s important for a governor to be in the position of protecting the family unit.”

Both Cameron and Beshear claim the Christian faith. While a candidate’s faith is informative to the voters, it’s important to understand precisely what that faith entails. If past elections are any indicator, an influential voting block in Kentucky will break for the candidate more consistent with biblical values.