***Update***: Bentley, under a lot of pressure, has apologized for his comments:
“It was never my intension to disenfranchise anyone”, Bentley said. “If I did make anyone of any faith feel disenfranchised, let me say I am sorry.”
“I did not mean to offend anyone with my comments there,” Bentley said to a group of religious leaders and reporters in his State Capitol office.
The governor said when he made the comments to the church audience he assumed he was speaking as a private citizen and not as the Governor of Alabama.
When asked at a press conference following the meeting, if he considered those attending to be his brothers and sisters, Bentley responded “Yes, yes I do.”
Bentley knew damn well he was speaking to a Christian crowd using his title as governor. He has no excuse for what he did, but in the last line in that excerpt, we already know he’s a liar. Obviously, he doesn’t actually believe any Muslim or Jew or atheist is his brother. He said so just the other day.
Not bad for a first act. I wonder how he’ll try to top it…
In his first act as Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley made it a point to tell Christians he considered them family. Nice to see him showing love for the Jews, Muslims, and atheists in his state…
… Bentley then said that only those who are Christians and “saved” like he is are his brothers and sisters.
“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit,” Bentley said. ”But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”
Bentley stopped just short of calling for non-Christians to accept Jesus Christ.
”Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters,” he said. “So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”
No thank you. Jokes about Alabama citizens having the “same daddy” aside, I have no desire to be a part of a family like that.
What’s even worse is that the beginning of Bentley’s speech was all about inclusion:
“I was elected as a Republican candidate. But once I became governor … I became the governor of all the people. I intend to live up to that. I am color blind.”
But after the shout-out to Christians, it’s clear which group he favors.
To paraphrase George Orwell: All people are equal; some are just more equal than others.
Blair Scott, former Alabama State Director of American Atheists, writes:
Bentley may not have intended to insult non-Christians in Alabama, but he did. And Bentley’s view that only Christians are his “brothers and sisters” relegates non-Christians in Alabama to a second class citizen state in his mind. How can we trust Bentley now when he has to choose between two competing bids for a state contract and one is owned by a Christian and the other a Hindu, Wiccan, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist?
Bentley said he wasn’t trying to insult anybody. That is not good enough for me. I want to know that he will actually treat all of Alabama’s citizens equally and that he is truly sorry for making non-Christians in Alabama feel like second class citizens.
I expect Bentley’s sort of exclusionary preaching in a church, but as a governor, you leave your preaching hat at the door. Who advised him, in his first act, to alienate every non-Christians in his state?
And besides just speaking in Christianese, what does that statement even mean? Why would anyone want to be in a “family” with James Dobson, Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell? If you asked me to pick families I’d like to be a part of, their names would not be on the top of my list…
Have fun with this guy, Alabama. Remember that you’re not part of his family when he comes asking you for money.