All Alabamans are apparently not equal, at least not in the eyes of new governor Robert Bentley. Bentley told an audience at a Baptist church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor that he was “color-blind” but also that non-Christians were not his “brother and sister.” According to the Birmingham News, Bentley told the congregation:
”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 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. 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.”
The Anti-Defamation League is the first to jump on the indignation wagon, issuing a statement reading that “It is shocking that Governor Bentley would suggest that non-Christians are not worthy of the same love and respect he professes to have for the Christian community… 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.” Bentley said that he wasn’t trying to offend, and his communications official said he governs all Alabamans.
I’d have to agree with the ADL that Bentley is walking a tight line between professing his faith and protelyzation. Bentley has been up front about his love of Christianity: he’s known to be devout and once said that he felt he had been put in the position of Governor by divine will. He told the Birmingham News that “I don’t feel obligated to anyone except the people who voted for me.” So, far, though, Bentley has seemed more preoccupied with Alabama’s economic condition than that of its heathen souls, something the 9% of the state’s workforce that’s unemployed, regardless of faith, will surely appreciate.