If there aren’t any red faces among members of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, then there damn well ought to be, for a man they gave a Statesmanship Award back in 2009 is now battling to keep his hold on his post of state Governor amidst allegations of infidelity, prompting this Gawker headline:
Apart from being Governor, Bentley, a 73-year-old Republican, is – according to this blog – a deacon and Sunday school teacher at the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa and he has served on the church’s Youth for Christ Advisory and Family Counseling Advisory boards.
Back in January 2011, after he was elected but before he took office, Bentley spoke at Martin Luther King Jr’s Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. What he said offended a lot of people.
There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have …. 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.
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.
Bentley is also a homophobic misogynist. This from Salon:
Bentley has been leading the charge in the Republican war on birth control. Back in August, Bentley used the anti-Planned Parenthood hoax videos as a pretext to cut low income women off from birth control and other gynecological care, by banning Medicaid patients from going to Planned Parenthood.
A federal judge overturned Bentley’s decision, forcing the state to pay for Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. That’s Gov Bentley for you: Wasting taxpayer money just to keep as many women as possible from getting birth control.
Bentley has also made it his mission to punish people for their consenting same-sex relationships. As Rachel Maddow explained on her Wednesday night show, Bentley’s ‘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’.
Bentley did not deny the legitimacy of the recordings or that it was his voice but told the press that they were made two years ago and, since then, he has made apologies to his family and that of the aide, Rebekah Mason, above, a former spokeswoman and policy adviser who was named here as “one of the 50 most powerful & influential people in Alabama”.
I am truly sorry, and I accept full responsibility. Today, I want to apologise to the people of Alabama.
But throughout the news conference, he maintained that the relationship never got physical.
I want everyone to know, though, that I have never had a physical affair with Mrs Mason.
One recording says otherwise:
When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands (unintelligible) and just pull you real close. I love that, too.
It was not clear from the recording alone who the governor was talking to.
Asked how that did not speak to a physical relationship, Bentley said:
Well, what I’m saying is there was no sexual activity.
He did not elaborate on what that meant.
Bentley, who was divorced from his wife last year, now has other woes.
According to this report, the state auditor of Alabama, Jim Zeigler, has filed an ethics violations report against him, initiating a legal investigation into “misuse of state property” as well as the legality of his senior political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason’s status as either a public official or a lobbyist.
The Governor continues to disgrace the state of Alabama, and in my official capacity as state auditor, I am required to report these suspected violations. It is clear that he is misleading the people of the state about the nature of his relationship, but it is also clear that Ms. Mason is required to either be classified as a public official, or file as a lobbyist, in her capacity as an advisor who is paid by an outside source.