Alabama's governor: only Christians are his "brothers and sisters"

I have two words for this: good grief.

From FoxNews:

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has only been in office three days, but he’s already facing criticism for remarks he made the day of his inauguration.

Bentley, a Republican, told a crowd at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church on Monday that if they haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, they are not his brother or his sister.

“The governor does not have to be a seasoned politician to understand the impact of remarks like that,” said Bill Nigut, the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “These are remarks of a man who truly believes what he said, apparently. This seems to be quite clear that Christians are part of an exclusive relationship he has with his brothers and sisters and the rest of us are not.”

Bentley was sworn in shortly before he spoke at the church where the late civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was once a pastor. According to The Birmingham News, during his speech he said it was important for Alabamians to ”love and care for each other.” He also told the crowd he is color blind. But just minutes later, he went on to say if they don’t have the same ‘daddy’ then they are not brothers and sisters.

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit,” Bentley said during his speech. ”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.”

Read more.

Also blogging on this:

Who is my brother?  Who is my sister?

New Governor Gets MLK Exactly Wrong

Msgr. Charles Pope

Comments

  1. I think this was not the time or place for the Governor to go into this. However the context of the speech and his background is important.

    I hope Catholics are careful here. There are reason that Christ started calling the Dicsiples “Brothers” AFTER the resurrection. There are reason we call each other Brother and Sister in Christ.

    Yes I know there is a Universial brotherhood of man as the Catechism says. But there is also the fact that by Baptism we are adopted and participate in the Trinity itself and that we are truly btother and sisters in a new special recreated way.

    I think that is what the Governors is trying to get at.

  2. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    actually, jh, you’d probably appreciate the perspective of the pagan blogger here, who writes: “In a spiritual setting he affirmed his spiritual beliefs. He said all Christians were his kin. Regardless of race, age, gender or geographic location he embraces those who have accepted Christ as their savior as his family. It’s such a tribal statement and such a ringing endorsement of Christian values.

    Now, of course, he’d like to consider an unrepentant old heathen such as myself family, but I’d have to convert. Well, as nice as it would be to get invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the governor’s mansion, I think I will pass. I appreciate the invitation. He obviously feels his faith has a lot to offer, but he was respectful enough to make his invitation from a church and not the capitol building. He never said anything that made me question his support of the First Amendment. I appreciate that.”

    http://www.patheos.com/community/paganportal/2011/01/19/gov-bentley-aint-my-brother-and-thats-just-dandy/

  3. pagansister says:

    Open mouth, insert foot. Unfortunately he said what he truely believes instead of staying quiet. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be his “sister”. Even with his apology, I don’t think that those non-Christians in the state of Alabama will feel he considers them equals. I used to live in Alabama and still have family there (and my sister is a Christian, so I guess she is OK in his eyes). Alabama, like many other states, has problems and I think they have elected one more.

  4. Can you imagine the uproar that would have been present on this blog if, instead of a Christian governor speaking at a church, it had been a Muslim governor speaking at a mosque and proclaiming that he only considered Muslims to be his brothers and sisters.

    I wonder if Ms. Scalia and the others in the blogosphere that are defending the Christian governor would view a Muslim governor’s comments with similar generosity? Somehow, I doubt it.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6669964

    People who place their religious faith’s teachings, of ANY religion, ahead of the Constitution that they have sworn to defend and uphold, are not worthy of the office they hold.

  5. Let the record show that the universal brotherhood of man is a foundational doctrine of freemasonry. While it’s perfectly true to say that Christians should love all their neighbors as brother and sister, I would be very careful about ascribing that relational affinity for the unbaptized. You cannot say “good grief” and dismiss Gov. Bentley’s remarks out of hand unless you dismiss the reality of the baptismal character.

  6. romancrusader says:

    Sometimes it’s better to be known for what you actually believe instead of beating around the bush. Just my two cents.

  7. romancrusader says:

    BTW, he is quite accurate that non-Christians are not his spirutal brothers and sisters. That spiritual truth does not mean he is not governor for all people in his state…he was speaking from a faith pov, not from the pov of his secular responsibilities. He also said that he wanted everyone to be his brother (obviously from a faith pov), and isn’t that 100% what all Christians should want?

    I believe we need to help our brethren be less afraid of the full faith…there are too many false stigmas against the faith and church. Those problems can be overcome with authentic love and prayer. Imagine how the world would look if the 2.3 billion Christians spoke as if from one lung…

  8. I think all people are our neighbors (remember the parable of the Good Samaritan) and Jesus calls us to do good to all (“Love your neighbor as yourself”). Yet in the spiritual sense yes, while everyone is my neighbor, only those who share my faith in Christ are my spiritual brothers and sisters. But that is my opinion only.

  9. We also need to be careful about who he thinks is his brother, as many who speak like this don’t believe that Catholics are Christians.

  10. I believe that Romancrusader is correct. Simply because he has been elected to office doesn’t mitigate his spiritual beliefs or his right to ennuciate those beliefs. We defend a politician’s right to speak against his spiritual community such as John Kerry’s right to prostelitize for abortion rights, yet we do not allow a man, unthinking as he was towards the PR implications, to speak to others about his own spiritual understanding. I think it a far grosser act of incivility, with certain premeditation, that Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) would compare Republicans to Nazis and Goebbels on the floor of the house. Moreover, I haven’t heard a peep from the Defamation League on that one, unless I’ve missed something. More pot stirring from the left as they chant ‘do as I say and not as I do”.

  11. Robert C. “Moreover, I haven’t heard a peep from the Defamation League on that one, unless I’ve missed something. More pot stirring from the left as they chant ‘do as I say and not as I do”.”

    Then I take it, Robert, that you were opposed to those who were speaking out about Rep. Keith Ellison, the Islamic gentleman from Minnesota who took his oath of office with his hand on a Quran? After all, if this story is just the left stirring a pot, would you not classify the Ellison uproar as a similar pot-stirring by your side of the political aisle?

  12. Perhaps a more general question about this incident is appropriate. Does the fact that the governor is of the majority faith (Christian) make those of you who share his faith more comfortable with his remarks than if he were of a minority faith (Wicca, Buddhism, Islam, etc.)?

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