A nationwide atheism group is trying to make sure spirituality is barred from Kentucky politics and has targeted a meeting that the state’s governor held at his residence with Christian pastors, but the group offered a conflicting message as to why they are so intent on silencing Christianity in state politics.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) said Wednesday that it will probe Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent “spiritual” meeting with Kentucky pastors and called the meeting a “misuse of official resources.”
Bevin held the event at the governor’s mansion earlier this week to inspire Kentucky pastors and to “awaken and motivate a sleeping church.” The FFRF said such an event had to have involved misused public resources, even though Christian pastors represent a sizable portion of the voting public in Kentucky and virtually every other U.S. state.
FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel sent an open records request to Bevin’s office Wednesday asking for all records pertaining to the event: invitations, advertisements, promotions and staffing records. “If this was a campaign event, Bevin couldn’t use state resources. If this was a religious event, Bevin couldn’t use state resources,” he said in a statement. “Either way, it’s hard to imagine how this is not an abuse of power. We’re going to find out.”
However, FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor issued a statement that made a very different point. Rather than claiming a misuse of executive power or misuse of state resources, Gaylor’s message seemed to be mere philosophical differences with the very notions of worship, belief, spirituality and divinity:
“Our message to Gov. Bevin and all pious politicians is: ‘Get off your knees and get to work. The answers to your state’s problem will not come from above.'”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is headquartered in Madison, Wis. and provides oversight over “those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church,” according to its website.