Alabama governor touches off controversy with Christian comments
January 18th, 2011
02:57 PM ET
3 years ago

Alabama governor touches off controversy with Christian comments

Update: The governor later apologized.

(CNN) – Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is kicking off his first term in office with a bit of controversy, telling a church audience Monday that he only considers Christians to be his "brothers and sisters."

"Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters," he told parishioners at a Baptist church in Montgomery Monday shortly after being sworn in. "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."

"There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit," Bentley also said, according to the Birmingham News. "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."

Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Bentley's communications director, was not immediately available for comment but told the Birmingham News that Bentley "is the governor of all the people, Christians, non-Christians alike."

Bentley also celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech and said he will govern in accordance with King's teachings.

'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," Bentley also said.


Filed under: Religion • Robert Bentley
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Jacob

    does he govern the entire state?

    January 18, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. mom2homer

    Open mouth, change feet.

    January 18, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Joe

    Unbelievable. Can we just cut the south away and let it float into the Gulf??

    January 18, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Militantdem

    Make me sick why don't ya!

    January 18, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Rob R

    Just got to love the continued hypocrisy from those wacky Republicans. I thought the Republicans wanted to follow the Constitution to the letter. Apparently these guys must not have heard of the 1st Amendment...you know, the part that separates church and state.

    It's fine if you are a Christian. More power to you. But I wish these people would stop shoving their religion down other people's throats and making people feel inferior if they don't accept Jesus. It's appalling. You don't have to be a Christian to be a good person. In fact it seems like all of these politicians and evangalists who claim to be so pious are the ones who are the most opposite of the teachings of Jesus.

    January 18, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Richard

    I guess he is not a brother or sister to people of the Jewish persuasion. I guess he doesn't know that we are all children of God and unlike the Governor, God does not discriminate. It's amazing on what people don't know what they don't KNOW!

    January 18, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Glenn Koons

    Theologcially the guv is correct. But, as a believer, he wants all people to be his bro and sis in Christ. That is not strange if you are in a church. As a pol, he should know that the Left , the atheists, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Unitarians will go nuts. If he is willing to stand up for his faith at the expense of the sooooo sensitive leftist PC baloney, he is a brave guy in today's world.

    January 18, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Resident298

    So, before you became Governor you were a bigot?

    January 18, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    No, he's not the governor of everyone, because not everyone in Alabama is a Christian.

    Funny thing about people like Bentley: They proclaim to be Christians, and yet they totally miss the point. Christ never told people to worship him; he told people to believe in God. Christ went among the lowest of the low and opened his heart to everyone, regardless.

    So many Christians today just see their faith as some big insiders club, where only they get to go to heaven, because of their professed faith.

    I believe God is bigger than their little minds can ever imagine – and that God loves all his creation, recognizing that what lies in a person's heart is what matters, not the words they use to describe God or the rituals they practice.

    January 18, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Walt D.

    Another right-wing conservative who does not know the fundamental tenants of the Christian faith, nor his Bible, but spouts our prejudice at will.

    January 18, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Seriously?

    What happened to separation of church and state? Why do these bible-bangers get to voice this religious beliefs and afflictions in a public forum that is supposedly for politics? I don't want to tell any one what to believe or how to worship, but if you are going in to the political arena, leave your religion outside. We have enough discourse in Washington, we don't need religion thown in.

    January 18, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Joel Miller

    This guy is an antiquated bigot.

    January 18, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Gina Hesse

    WOW! I cannot, cannot believe it. Such comments from a governer of a state. Shame on Alabamans for electing this ignoramous to the highest office of the state.

    January 18, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Battsman

    Be proud Alabama. So very very proud.

    January 18, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Michael Bourque

    Say NO to jesus christ, never say yes, always say NO to jesus christ, NO, NO, NO!

    January 18, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. mike

    here is another idiot that thinks his religion is the only one that is superior over all other religions and he was elected governor,
    this country is a joke to say the lease that we still have americans that can't see out of there own little world of what is really around them and that we as voters don't really care who we put in to office this world is small and scum bags like this one is making us look like fools to the rest of the world and makes the job for the american soldier much harder for whom he represents

    January 18, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. megan

    the tea party kkk will kill you. because they dont think that we are sis and bro in christ.

    January 18, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Allan

    He can't be credible when it comes to impartiality, when he considers some people to be part of his family and others not part of his family. No one questions his faith. But even in the church venue, he could have spoken about how religious he is, how important his faith is, without ever separating the world (and hence his constituents) into those that are in his family vs.those that are not in his family. For example, when it comes to things like granting pardons, clemency, etc., he will have to be under extreme scrutiny to ensure that he doesn't grant more to "his family" and deny them to those not in "his family". All nominations he makes will have to be scrutinized to ensure he didn't bypass more qualified people who were not part of "his family".

    He talks about those who have "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." That sounds as though he is trying to get non-Christians to convert, hardly a role for a Governor of all the people.

    January 18, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    What a tool. Wasn't MLK Southern Baptist also. If so, it's a real "reach" for him to follow his teachings.....whoopdi doo. He's obviously a zealot who intends to run his administration on a faith (Christian) based agenda and to h3ll with anyone else who dares to not think like he does. But then again, it's Alabammy so why am I even surprised?

    January 18, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Sick of Tea

    Just what we need, one more unscrupulous bible thumper who’s under the mistaken impression that our country is a Christian theocracy instead of a Republic. Gee, I wonder where this could be heading. Will somebody please forward this wingnut copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights before he starts legislating.

    January 18, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Mark

    But I sho don lak dem dat aint christin

    January 18, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Sorensen

    What a bunch of embarrassing and irrelevant malarki!!

    January 18, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. beevee

    Waht an idiot.

    January 18, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Anita

    '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," Bentley also said.
    The fact that he said that reinforces the notion that the Republican party is mostly for the "old, white, males" mentality.

    January 18, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Tulsa

    Yep, it's still Alabama.

    January 18, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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