In order to protect Christian conservative values and stop the "degradation of society," bloodshed may be needed, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said in a speech Saturday at the Value Voters Summit in Washington D.C.
He told the group of religious conservatives, "America is worth fighting for ideologically. I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically. But that may, in fact, be the case."
He later talked more explicitly about violence. Discussing the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency, Bevin paraphrased Thomas Jefferson's quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Then he was asked whose blood will be shed, before answering:
"It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something that we, through our apathy and our indifference, have given away. Don’t let it happen."
Warning that the "candle" of liberty might go out "on our watch," Bevin argued that liberals too often silence Christians when it comes to the "degradation of society." He added that Christians "were not redeemed to have a spirit of timidity." Referring to reproductive rights and LGBTQ issues, Bevin, who previously fiercely defended homophobic Kim Davis, elaborated:
"Look at the atrocity of abortion, so many have remained silent. It's a slippery slope. First we're killing children, then it's 'don't ask, don't tell.' Now it's this gender-bending, don't ask, don't be a bigot, don't be unreasonable, don't be unenlightened, heaven forbid, just keep your mouth shut."
On Monday, Bevin issued a statement on Twitter, which argued that "any intelligent person will easily understand the message" of his speech if they listen to it. Bevin's statement made it seem like his speech was about the "thousands of men and women in uniform fighting for us overseas and they need our full backing," particularly against "the determination of radical Islamic extremists to destroy our freedoms."
Not everybody is buying Bevin's explanation though. The Atlantic's David A. Graham wrote, "As the full context of Bevin’s VVS [Values Voters Summit] remarks demonstrate, that’s pure spin. Bevin was clearly suggesting that bloodshed might be necessary domestically in the event of a Clinton victory."
Bevin's comments came about a month after his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump, seemed to call for Hillary Clinton's assassination, joking that "the Second Amendment people" could take care of her.