published Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Gov. Robert Bentley apologizes for remarks

  • photo
    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley receives a standing ovation as he walks to the podium in the Old House Chamber to swear in members of his cabinet and staff on Tuesday at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Julie Bennett)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. ­­— Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized Wednesday for his inauguration day remarks about only Christians being his brothers and sisters and said he would work over the next four years for people of all faiths and colors.

Bentley said he didn’t mean to insult anyone with comments he made from the pulpit of a church once led by Martin Luther King Jr. He said he was speaking as an evangelical Christian to fellow Baptists.

“If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way,” Bentley said Wednesday.

Bentley spoke with reporters after meeting with several members of Alabama’s Jewish community and other faith leaders at his Capitol office.

The Southern Baptist deacon says he will be a governor for everyone, not just Christians.

Bentley had told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians.

“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,” Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday called Bentley’s remarks shocking.

“His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor,” said Bill Nigut, the ADL’s regional director.

Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church after the inaugural ceremony, Bentley told the crowd that he considered anyone who believed in Jesus to be his brothers and sisters regardless of color, but anyone who isn’t a Christian doesn’t have that same relationship to him.

“If the Holy Spirit lives in you that makes you my brothers and sisters. Anyone who has not accepted Jesus, I want to be your brothers and sisters, too,” Bentley said.

Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society, said he wasn’t sure how the remarks were intended.

“Does it mean that those who according to him are not saved are less important than those who are saved?” Taufique said. “Does he want those of us who do not belong to the Christian faith to adopt his faith? That should be toned down. That’s not what we need.”

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NoMyth said...

Ummm...okay, so the guy is fool and has no comprehension of how to govern or how to separate church and state. His actions will continue the arguably well-founded perception of the rest of the country that Alabama is a backward-thinking place.

January 20, 2011 at 1:40 a.m.
mella_yella said...

Todays' Republican politicians seem to be suffering from a lot of foot-n-mouth disease. The party of Abraham Lincoln died when Lincoln was assassinated. That long ago party wouldn't recognize or even acknowledge todays' highjackers of their party.

January 20, 2011 at 3:44 a.m.

Guess what Bob, we don't like you either. So here's a hearty "F**K YOU Bob" from my self and most all of us non-christians.

No one wants to have a hate monger for a brother. I'm very proud to be a pagan of sorts. This is exactly the reason I was driven away from your churches, HATE.

I don't care one way or the other if you're christian, pagan, Buddhist, traditional Native American like myself, atheist or whatever the case may be.

Your hate is deep in your heart. No apologies will cover up your hate, we all see it. As the kids say, it sucks to be you Bob.

January 20, 2011 at 4:58 a.m.
XMarine said...

Just another hate mongering buffoon elected to office.

January 20, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.
GreenKepi said...

Ugh...DreadPirateDirkin...there's just as much hate where you 'went'...as there is where you 'left'. Have you found that out yet, or have you just left the "churches"? We can tell by your tone and language...you'll fit right in at both places!

January 20, 2011 at 7:55 a.m.
ceeweed said...

Hating on all non-Christians is pretty bold there Governor. Should of just stuck with the more acceptable fundamentalist tenet of hating on Gays. Your butt would still be in a vice but you would have allies in other faiths.

January 20, 2011 at 8:18 a.m.
ibshame said...

Why would any official in their right mind make such a statement? It's like George Wallace giving his "Segregation Now, Segregation Forever Speech" it got him re-elected because it was the popular thing to say at the time, but years later he realized just how it came back to haunt him. Times have changed and those kind of statements are not easily passed off today in a more culturally diverse society. Of course the people who voted this bozo in are just as much to blame for this type of rampant ignorance. His apology is worthless.

January 20, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.
myname said...

Give the man a break -- he is just making a comment about his religious belief. He didn't say any thing about killing non-believers who refuse to convert like "Islame" preaches.

January 20, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
dave said...

From the sounds of this guy I would love Alabama! But my my my...hateful comments made on Chattanooga's liberal rag...

January 20, 2011 at 3:07 p.m.
bubbles01 said...

I didn't read anything about him saying he "hated" anybody. These days if you don't agree with somebody's thinking or way of life you are accused of hating them. Somebody brought up hating gays. Just because I disagree with their way of life doesn't mean I hate them as a person (even though I do hate the way they live). This man was speaking in a church with "brothers & sisters in Christ". He did take it a little far. One thing for sure everybody will be watching his walk more than listening to his talk. Maybe he will get some good advice from somebody and pray a lot before he opens his mouth.

January 20, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
mityeltu said...

I think it's a shame that he's backtracking. He's quite right, really. If he is a Christian, than all those who are NOT Christians are NOT his brothers and sisters. Christ Himself said as much. Why back away from the heathen? Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what you believe. If he loves his JOB more than he loves God, then..... well, he has his reward.

January 20, 2011 at 7:39 p.m.
dude_abides said...

I believe what the gentleman was trying to say is that he believes in having intimate relations with his brothers and sisters. Is this not a prerequisite for running for office in Alabama? Conservative male Alabamans only date their sister, whereas liberal male Alabamans date their brothers.

January 20, 2011 at 7:45 p.m.
ibshame said...

The next time Alabama competes with another state for a major industry all the competing state has to do is replay the Governor's statement. Most major industries these days are owned by foreign entities(from countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, etc)where Christianity is not the religion of the majority. How many of these major industries would be willing to locate their factories in a state where the Governor considers Non-Christians to be akin to heathens? While Alabama has come a long way from its past history of intolerance,there is still much work to be done.

January 21, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
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