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. Michael Bourque

    and a Thumbs up for evolution!!!

    January 18, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Livin' the good life

    Why is it that these people want to DIVIDE more people than ever? Do they THINK that THEY have ALL the answers? It's just like that girl from Alaska...some people want to be "CHEER"leaders and some "FEAR"leaders. I just DON'T get it...Beau Colby

    January 18, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Breal123

    This is exactly why I don't vote Republican. Keep your faith and your politics seperate....Seriously man!

    January 18, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Hot Patata

    Am I supposed be upset that this creepy, shoe salesman-looking fop doesn't want to be my brother? My people are the chosen, baby, and we'd never choose this guy.

    January 18, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    He was in a church talking to a church audience. So, the question is, was he speaking to them as their Governor or as a fellow parishioner? If the latter, then I suppose he is to be excused, since we are all guaranteed our right to our own beliefs. If the former, however, then I have a major issue with that. He was elected to represent all the people of his state, not just the born-again Christians. So if he is saying that he will give short shrift to all those who do not believe the same way he does, he should be run out of office.

    January 18, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. sharecropper

    I salute the man! Most people are afraid of the PC police; this man has intestinal fortitude that most politicians couldn't even recognize.

    January 18, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    ["Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters,"]

    Tell that to a mother that has two kids from different dads? Tell her to let her children know that they are NOT brothers and sisters!!!

    January 18, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. independent

    What is with Alabama, and South Carolina? Are they going to drag the two ton cement ten commandments out of storage and put it in the State House? It is a good thing for these two states that no non-Christians live there, because they would be upset. They might be inclined to sue the State for discrimination, unequal treatment, and dumbness.

    January 18, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    This guy has basically just convicted himself of religious bigotry and really ought to be removed from office.

    January 18, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Charles

    And this mentality is why Alabama is still behind in everything.

    January 18, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Michael

    Well, I'm sure glad he said that because I certainly wouldn't want someone like him anywhere in or near my family.

    January 18, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Kenneth

    Judgmental ... color blind ... Republican ... AND a good ol boy. Should be interesting to say the least.

    January 18, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Ruth

    He's definitely not my brother, and thank you Jesus for that.

    January 18, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. La, La, La

    Thank god I don't believe in Jesus. I am glad you are not my brother!

    January 18, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. S. In California

    For ONCE, I agree with a republican.

    January 18, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Nick

    Talk about a polarizing figure... nice job Alabama

    January 18, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. David, CA

    And I don't want anyone who is such a ignorant "elitist" exclusionist leading any state in America- who cares if they consider me a "brother" or not. Religious fascism is an ugly thing.

    January 18, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Michael Bourque

    Governing needs to remain secular, he appears to state that outside the church he will be just. But what remains to be seen (or un-seen) is what happens behind closed doors.

    January 18, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. JR

    Is being a Christian only about being saved? I think if Jesus was here today he would be very sad and ashame with what he see's from his so called followers. I see more hate and non-tolerance from right wing Christians then anywhere else in this country. I think God will judge us all based on the good we do on earth. All you haters could be in for a surpise come judgment day.

    January 18, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Jack

    This idiot certainly ain't my brother. I was born and raised Catholic but this mean, holier than thou hypocrite is not any kind of Christian I know. The nun taught us to love all people of all faiths and backgrounds. I guess that's too much for these xenophobes.

    January 18, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. sick

    You make me sick.. i vote for you based on ideas.. then you tell me I am not important unless I believe in your God. Your a disgrace to mankind.

    January 18, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Laverne

    Well, I have to agree with the reverend, I don't and won't call some of these hate filled folk who consider the devil as their savior as my sister or brother. However I do believe in treating all people with respect and dignity, but not all people accept or respect Christ.

    January 18, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. gt

    that will work in alabama....no repercusion for say that...

    January 18, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Bubba

    He's no member of MY family. I'm only related to humans.

    January 18, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. walleye46

    I believe Jesus said to LOVE EVERYONE including your enemies. Typical Southern moronic, bigoted behavior.

    January 18, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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