At a campaign stop on Thursday, Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams, who is also president of the state Senate, took some more time to explain what he called “a little controversy that’s happened” — and called upon Hindus to come to Jesus.
The controversy in question, of course, is Williams’s attack on Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear participating in a Hindu religious ceremony at the groundbreaking for a factory run by an Indian company.
The Corbin Times-Tribune reports
When Williams said he wasn’t criticizing Hindus but did what Christians should do by inviting them to “love and know Jesus,” people nodded. When he asked if “isn’t it time that someone stood up for (Christians) for a change?” some applauded.
“I just brought to people’s attention that it’s rather odd that a governor that wouldn’t stand up for Bell County’s schools ability to say a prayer before a football game and didn’t want to call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree, he wanted to call it a holiday tree, and when he was attorney general didn’t want to post the Ten Commandments, climbed down in a pit and to do a Hindu prayer,” Williams said.
The polls throughout the race have shown Beshear heavily favored to win re-election — such as one out this week from the Louisville Courier-Journal, with Beshear ahead of Williams by a margin of 54%-29%.
This past Friday, Beshear attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, for a new factory run by FlexFilm, a company based in India that makes materials for packaging, printing, insulation and other purposes. The plant represents a $180 million investment, and is expected to create 250 jobs in Kentucky.
The groundbreaking included a Hindu ceremony, the bhoomi poojan, which was covered by a local paper. On Tuesday, Williams attacked Beshear’s participation in the ceremony as “idolatry.” and “prayers to false gods.”
“He’s there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony,” Williams said. “They can say what they want to. He’s sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don’t know what the man was thinking.”
Williams further told reporters: “If I’m a Christian, I don’t participate in Jewish prayers. I’m glad they do that. I don’t participate in Hindu prayers. I don’t participate in Muslim prayers. I don’t do that. To get down and get involved and participate in prayers to these polytheistic situations, where you have these Hindu gods that they are praying to, doesn’t appear to me to be in line with what a governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky ought to be doing.”
On Wednesday, Williams released a statement clarifying his attack — which did not really take anything back, saying in part: “To be clear, I very much support economic development and strongly believe in freedom of religion. What I cannot understand is why Governor Beshear has a long pattern of opposing outward displays of the Christian faith such as Christmas trees, prayers before high school football games, and posting the 10 Commandments but apparently has no problem personally participating in displays of non-Christian religions.”