What’s happening in Alabama right now would be the biggest political story in the country if the news didn’t constantly revolve around Donald Trump. But besides the scandal of a resigning governor, it’s more proof that conservative Christians are among the worst hypocrites in the political sphere.
Governor Robert Bentley, who resigned from office yesterday over ethics complaints relating to an affair with a former staffer, came into office with the reputation as a strong social conservative. He was the “family values” guy. He denounced gay marriage because the Bible said it was wrong.
Rachel Maddow put it incredibly well last year:
Governor Bentley ran for this office that he holds on the grounds that he was a family values candidate — a God fearing family man — whose campaign ads featured him talking about the Bible while posing with his wife and all of his grandkids. he ran as a man who so believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage that he would fight same-sex marriage with every fiber of his being. His administration filed a Supreme Court brief that said marriages between same-sex couples should not even be thought of as marriages, they should be seen as social experiments.
Nobody’s love life is a political matter. Unless you as a politician make your love life and your personal life a political matter. And Robert Bentley, the Governor of Alabama, has done that. He has been a crusading family values politician who has campaigned on the superior morality of his own marriage, his own family and his own family values, and how he’s going to save Alabama from other people’s terrible, immoral family choices because his values and his family are superior.
That’s the guy who stepped down because of an affair.
And as he made his final speech as governor, wouldn’t you know it, he thanked God for putting him in this position.
“I’ve always believed the honor of serving as your governor was a calling that God placed on my life,” Bentley said in his resignation speech on Monday…
“I have spent the last year in deep and earnest prayer over our state and our people,” Bentley said. “I pray every morning for wisdom and guidance and forgiveness for the sins that I commit.”
“This Easter week I’m even more grateful for a loving and merciful savior who will always love me — and you — unconditionally,” Bentley said.
“Especially I give to thanks to God for such a wonderful gift that he gave me when he allowed me to be the governor of Alabama,” Bentley said.
Bentley didn’t apologize anywhere in that speech, either. So while he may have asked God for forgiveness, he didn’t make the same request of the people he used to serve.
If that’s what a good conservative Christian brought to the highest office in the state, maybe it’s time some of those Bible-thumpers considered looking outside their churches for a decent candidate.
Normally, when a governor gets sworn in, it’s done by the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. That would be Roy Moore, the conservative Christian who became a national figure more than 15 years ago for installing an illegal Ten Commandments monument into the courthouse in the dead of night, refusing to remove it, then getting kicked off the bench. (He was voted back onto the court in 2012, only to get suspended earlier this year after telling probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality.)
Roy Moore is the perfect example of the “religious freedom” crowd letting it slide when it’s their religion being imposed upon everybody else. If a Muslim judge dared to do even a fraction of what Moore has done, there would be an uprising throughout the South.
Because Moore is gone from the bench again, it was Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stewart who did the task of swearing in Kay Ivey, the former Lieutenant Governor, as Bentley’s replacement. Ivey’s pastor held the Bible for her during the ceremony.
Gov. Ivey, by the way, defended Moore during his most recent controversy, saying she was “deeply concerned by the charges the Judicial Inquiry Commission filed against Chief Justice Roy Moore.”
She’s also, not surprisingly, an anti-abortion candidate who just last year wrote an essay about why the holiday season was all about the birth of Christ. She’s also widely distrusted by other politicians.
None of that disqualifies her from taking office, of course, but it means Alabama will have another conservative Christian in a place of political power. How long will it be before she’s caught going against her own supposed religious values?
While we’re at it, how many Christians in Alabama dismiss all of this as persecution of some sort? When will they finally realize that politicians don’t deserve their votes simply for professing the same faith?