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. Tanbiker2

    Well, racist bigot governors are nothing new in Louisiana. Sad. He's obviously an old fool.

    January 18, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Brad

    You can find a Islamic extremist version of this over in Pakistan...

    January 18, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Daddy24/7

    This is one crazy nutjob but nothing new from the republicans. I guess we should wonder if he won the election had the non-christians not voted for him. Cant believe we have such people living in 2011. He is no different than an Islamic fundamentalist. But its fine in America, just because he is one rich, white, Christian Republican. Thank GOD its happening in Alabama, no one gives jack about that place anyways...

    January 18, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. informed voter

    Unbelievable. Jesus felt ALL people were brothers and sisters, not just the ones who belonged to the same sect. "I am color blind," Bentley said. It's obvious to me that he is simply BLIND.

    January 18, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. joe

    What an idiot. Wait until he finds out his great-grandmother's aunt on her father's side was Jewish. Or Muslim. Or Hindu. Or...

    January 18, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. chief soaring eagle

    He made the comments inside a Christian church while talking to
    a Christian congregation. Where's the controversy ? He may be
    a Governor but he still goes to church and states his religious beliefs.
    Where's the foul in this, CNN ? He wasn't on the floor of the State House
    in Alabama making a speech.

    January 18, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Goddog

    OK... How many christains agree with this man's statement. The christian belief is that we DO all have the same father whether we acknowledge it or not. His is an ignorant and useless statement.

    January 18, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Papasan in AZ

    thanks for removing all doubt that you are an idiot

    January 18, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Dan

    This reminds me of George H. W. Bush saying "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots." Anyone who agrees with Bush, or the Alabama governor, needs to read the Constitution.

    How far has America fallen intellectually and morally when influential politicians, including a president, don't think that non-Christians are full citizens? Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would be ashamed.

    January 18, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Adam

    this is disgusting

    January 18, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Eddie A. Poloche

    So let me get this straight. He claims he is going to live in accordance to Dr. King's phylosophy, yet has already stated that people who don't believe in Jesus, aren't his brothers and sisters.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, here is yet another reason why I prefer to burn in hell, then to spend eternity with these types of people...

    January 18, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Marco Budgyk

    And that, in a nutshell, is the major problem with organized religion. It is EX-clusive. Rather than inclusive. If you are not in my religious group (which, of course, has 100% of the Truth), then you are not my brother. Which means, of course, I am not your keeper. Which means, of course, you are the Other (cue sinister music). Which means, of course, war and bloodshed. All in the name of God.

    January 18, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Marcus

    Last time I checked Jesus Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth or whatever is the way you call him, lived by (among many others) the line 'WE ARE ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD'. He was against any form of discrimination ESPECIALLY those who used 'GOD' as an excuse.
    It's in the Bible Mr. Governor, why don't you check t before using your faith as an excuse to your 'Hollier than thou' attitude?

    January 18, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Marko

    He says he is Governor for everyone. It does not sound like it. It sounds like non-Christians need not apply. I am sorry, but statements like that make him unfit for office and impeachment proceedings should start immediately. This country is not a theocracy. If he wants that he should go to the mideast.

    January 18, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Russ

    What a freakin' idiot. Get your damn religion out of Government!!! You're not elected to preach, you're elected to carry out the will of the people and unfortunately, most are not religious. Oh, yeah, they say they are to appease you fanatics. It's time for all non-religious people in this country to stand up to any politician that even mentions God, Jesus or the Bible in any way shape or form. You can't govern from a fictious writing. Try the constitiution!!!

    January 18, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. dudeman

    This is what people in AL have to look forward to the next four years. Frankly, they would probably be better off with the Gov. from Wasilla....nooooooooooooottt!!!!!

    January 18, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. SA in OO

    "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."

    And who says the separation of church and state is settled law? It seems pretty clear that the Governor of the state knows who his people are and who they are not.

    January 18, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. alberto

    And everyone who doesn't believe the same things that I do is condemned to hell and shall be burned as a witch.

    January 18, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Johh

    This is news? These statements are merely stating what a Christian is. Apparently CNN is unaware of what a Christian is, despite the fact that 99% of our founding fathers were Christians, despite the fact that the majority of Americans consider themselves Christians, and despite 2000 years of history. It is CNN that is the oddball here, not Bentley. Hey CNN, step out of your bubble once in a while and visit the real world.

    January 18, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. juliei4

    Everybody has the same daddy if you beleive what you read the Bible, even those you consider to be your enemies. As Jesus said, "Better are those who have never known me than those who have known me and turned away."

    January 18, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. bobcat1a

    We're all equal, it's just that Christians are more equal than the rest of us.

    January 18, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. big al

    Why is it wrong to discuss the Christian religion in a church.
    How paranoid are we supposed to be in America now a days ?

    January 18, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. buc

    How do people like this get elected? Oh its Alabama. Sorry to all the educated people there, both of them.

    January 18, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Papi69

    What were the voters of Alabama thinking when they voted for this antagonist? That is just it, they were not thinking. The voters got swayed by the glimmering generalities and simple solutions to complex issues the republicans for infamous for. They are now stuck with this fella for the next four years. Good luck.

    January 18, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. cliffdogg

    '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.

    So, is he saying that the before being elected, as part of the Republican party, he wasn't color blind?

    January 18, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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