New Alabama Governor Robert Bentley wants his citizens to be part of his family – his Christian Family. The Birmingham News reports that in a speech to a crowd at a church where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was once pastor, Bentley told attendees “…if you’re a Christian and your saved…It makes you and me brother and sister.” He went on to add “’Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. 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.”After some questioned the Governor’s words, his press handler said “He is the governor of all the people, Christians, non-Christians alike.”
Later, when asked if he meant to be insulting to people of other faiths, Bentley said “we’re not trying to insult anybody.”
I don’t believe this dyed-in-the-wool conservative meant to offend anyone specifically, either. The bio on his website reads like any other factory made republican – Bentley’s a veteran who doesn’t like “big government,” loves “family values” and is “pro-life, pro marriage, and pro-second amendment.” He apparently enjoys aiming rifles over relaxing looking lakes. No one should be surprised that a man who wears religion on his sleeve says things in speeches specific to that religion.
That said, the desire he has to use speeches to evangelize his non-evangelical constituents should be cause for alarm. Like plenty of other conservatives, Bentley claims to respect and revere the constitution, going so far to say that he will “defend Alabama’s sovereignty” when it comes to the Tenth Amendment. Apparently, in his haste to defend this particular amendment (along with the second, of course), he put the very first one aside. While he may not be advocating for state sponsored religion in those words, he’s certainly implying that his brand of Christians get preferential treatment. The insult is that while “he’s the governor of all the people,” apparently his brand of Christians come first.