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Alabama governor touches off controversy with Christian comments
January 18th, 2011
05:25 PM ET

Alabama governor touches off controversy with Christian comments

Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is kicking off his first term in office with a bit of controversy, telling a church audience Monday that he only considers Christians to be his "brothers and sisters."

"Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters," he told parishioners at a Baptist church in Montgomery Monday shortly after being sworn in. "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."

"There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit," Bentley also said, according to the Birmingham News. "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 the full story here from CNN's Political Ticker.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Politics • United States

soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. ThirstyJon

    Christians calling one another "brother" and "sister" in Christ is an ancient tradition that is harmful to no one.

    There is always the implied "in Christ" at the end of the statement!

    Only those "in Christ" are my brothers and sisters "in Christ." i.e. Only Christians are Christian Brothers and Sisters.

    What about people of other faiths? They are my human brothers and sisters. We are all children of Adam and Eve.

    This man obviously only meant what he said in a certain context – whether or not someone has surrendered to Christ. This does not have any impact on his ability to govern.

    Making this "controversial" is silly.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  2. JadedHonor

    @ trixen,
    You should be as if he has his way everyone would be forced to convert or either A.die or B. leave the US

    also if he and his religion had their way they would burn pagans at the stake for being a witch like the christens of the past had done

    @Truth,
    I am glad there are some that are not blinded and twisted by lies.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  3. DavidMichael

    I am agnostic and not offended. This was held AT a church, for church members, so the speech was directed at them regarding his personal and religious beliefs. I would actually expect this sort of honest comment. I far prefer it over pretended and false friendships.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • ThirstyJon

      I appreciate your comment. What he said was in a context. People that are making this a controversy are taking what he said out of that context.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  4. Truth

    Religion the oldest and most destructive lie ever conceived by human beings. Wake up!

    January 19, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  5. trixen

    Well, I'd consider the setting and his audience at the time he gave the speech. He was, after all, speaking at a Baptist church. I'm atheist and I'm not offended by it.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  6. Sara

    As a life long resident of the "great" state of Alabama...can i just say how PROUD i am today to have Dr. Bentley as my governor....NOT! Jeez...some people in this state will never learn.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  7. JadedHonor

    I find this funny to be all honest.

    I am nether Christan nor Atheist and I find this guy full of himself because clearly he is showing what his faith truly is and that's hypocritical.

    This guy has no right to be a leader of people if he is just a beget and views everyone as inferior because their beliefs are not his own.

    Now where did we hear that kind of filth before(give you all a hint, they wear turbans)?

    January 19, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  8. Apostle Eric vonAnderseck

    Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is kicking off his first term in office with a bit of controversy, telling a church audience Monday that he only considers Christians to be his "brothers and sisters."
    Apostle Eric says; I feel he has a right to do so but he must be willing to bear the worlds yoke of scrutiny. But to keep his citizenship tethered to the kingdom of God he needs to come into covenant. http://apostlestoday.net/

    January 19, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  9. RightTurnClyde

    Ok they withheld (in censorship) news clippings about official suppression of Christians by the three branches of government/

    January 19, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  10. ldf

    Why do 'born-again' christians have so many birth defects?

    Alabama marches further into darkness.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Would you say something like that about another minority? Would you say that about Jewish people? blacks? moslems? gays? no. So why do yo feel like you have license to publish negative sterotypic generalizations about Christians?

      January 19, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  11. RightTurnClyde

    Home Bible study illegal in San Diego? The Western Center for Law and Policy is troubled by this draconian move to suppress home Bible studies,” said the law center in a statement. “If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground. If that happens, believers will once again be forced to meet in homes. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?”

    Are home Bible studies illegal in San Diego? That’s the question many are asking after Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary, who live in San Diego, were told by the county of San Diego they needed to either stop their Bible study or get a costly permit. For years, the couple has invited friends to their house for weekly Bible study sessions in much the same manner as other Americans have people over for cookouts, family reunions and Tupperware® parties. Because their gathering was religious in nature, according to a Fox News report today, they’ve been told they will have to spend thousands of dollars on the aforementioned permit

    Robert // May 30, 2009 at 5:05 pm So if you live in San Diego and your family comes over for Christmas gathering are you going to be fined for that? What about Easter? And if not then whats the difference between the holidays and a weekly bible study? Clearly they are not making money on this nor is anyone going after the neighbors for BBQ’s or family gatherings. re Home Bible Studies Illegal in San Diego?

    Are home Bible studies illegal in San Diego? That’s the question many are asking after Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary, who live in San Diego, were told by the county of San Diego they needed to either stop their Bible study or get a costly permit. For years, the couple has invited friends to their house for weekly Bible study sessions in much the same manner as other Americans have people over for cookouts, family reunions and Tupperware® parties. Because their gathering was religious in nature, according to a Fox News report today, they’ve been told they will have to spend thousands of dollars on the aforementioned permit. According to several reports, including the 10 News report in this video, the Jones family will fight the county’s action. I expect they’ll receive a lot of support from across the country, too — and deservedly so! Continue reading at NowPublic.com: Are Home Bible Studies Illegal in San Diego? | NowPublic News Coverage http://www.nowpublic.com/world/are-home-bible-studies-illegal-san-diego#ixzz1BSJdFk3l

    So NOW we need to hire lawyers and have legals battles because we are practicing our Christian faith. Is this happening to Moslems? Of course not. To Jewish people during their holidays - absolutely not!! To Hindu or Buddist or Yoga? NO! To gays? NO. To Christians YES! Yes it is. WHO IS DEMANDING THIS - other Christians? Not likely. Figure it out

    January 19, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Catch a clue, wingnut. This was resolved TWO YEARS AGO. The county overstepped its authority, as government does in many areas, got called on it, and the matter straightened out. The county felt the pastor was running a church in his house, which he kind of was, and wanted him to have the same permits a church needed.

      You say that this isn't happening to Muslims, but it is, you know, the center near the World Trade Center site that people like you have been trying to oppress. And it has been happening to gays, as you try to deny them rights you have. You play the victim because of one weird case that ended long ago, and ignore the culpability of Christians in repressing others.

      And clue to the clueless: yoga isn't a religion.

      Why are you trying to chum up fear and angst over a highly anomolous situation that has virtually no chance of repeating itself? Why are you playing the paranoid victim, as if everyone is out to get you?

      You are such a victim. Pity yourself some more. Watch Fox and get angry.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Well Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger here you ARE doing it. Using words like wingnut. Do you call Jews wingnuts? I am pretty sure you don't. The Moslems in New Yokr had the president on their side (how much higher can you go?) Di you call them wingnut? No; you don't. Why do you feel as through you have license to speak hatefully and disparagingly to Christians? Why do you have a right to be contemptuous and hateful toward us? Why do you think it was no big deal for the government to suppress Christians in their own home? What would have happened if that had been done to a Jewish home or a Moslem home? You say Yoga is not a faith and they say they are. So do Wicca and many eastern practices and no one dares to suppress their practice. Why is it OK that it happened in San Diego? Why does the president run to the defense of a Moslems in New York City but is silent about a cross being on forcibly removed after 60 or 70 years? There is a double standard and your manner of response reveals it in your speech. We experience that kind of hatred every day (from people like you). It does destroy our faith, but we are aware of your hatred and we are powerless to prevent it . It is very widespread and venomous.

      January 19, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • civiloutside

      A careful reading will show that he called you a wingnut not for being a Christian, but for overblowing an isolated incident into a paranoid fantasy of persecution.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @RightTurnClyde
      Jews, Gays, Buddhists, Yoga practi.tioners etc. do not prosthelytize!
      When is the last time you saw a man in a yarmulka on the street corner ranting about the impending apocalypse?
      Ever been to a Buddhist gathering where they condemn others from a fiery pulpit?
      Ever met a gay missionary forcing third world denizens to take copies of Judy Garland movies or they won't get food and medicine?

      As for removing religious symbols from public spaces – the same rules apply for stars of david and pentagrams as for your roman torture devices.

      In America, the vast majority of the populace professes to some form of Christianity – Xtians can hardly claim to be an oppressed minority.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Wow, you are even more of a wingnut than I imagined. You are deep in paranoid conspiracy theories that are massive distortions of reality.

      Have an angry day. Turn on Fox to fuel your rage. Turn on Limbaugh and find out what your opinions are today.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Doc Vestibule

      As always... VERY well said, my friend...

      Peace...

      January 20, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  12. LeftRightLef

    OK....that's my real name. Much better.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  13. LdftRightLef

    I wonder if he realizes that I am very glad that he is not my brother.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  14. Christian

    messicks, I cannot help the name my parents gave me

    January 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • LdftRightLef

      Yeah...just check out my name.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • LeftRightLef

      OK, I tried to correct my name. Did it work? I won't know til I post this.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  15. kriegerse

    . . . . . telling an audience at the Mosque Monday that he only considers Muslims to be his "brothers and sisters."
    "Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters," he told worshipers at a Mosque in Montgomery Monday shortly after being sworn in. "So anybody here today who has not accepted Mohammed 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."

    "There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the truth of Islam," Bentley also said, according to the Birmingham News. "But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're Muslim 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.

    Same old same old, just change the name of the organized religious order. Believe like I do or you’re an infidel and so on and so on. Anybody see a pattern here?

    January 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I am pretty sure you never read these lines We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his b**od with me Shall be my brother;

      January 19, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  16. Christian

    do a little work and some research, you’ll be shocked what you stumble upon. Another brilliant man set out to do some serious fact finding to put a lid on this Christianity rubbish, few years later he wrote a well written book called “A case for Christ” You can think for yourself so don’t just hop on the atheist band wagon, think for yourself and truly challenge what you believe

    January 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • riverrunner

      you can cite a few atheists gone christian yet neglect the thousands of christains gone atheist. you'll probably make an absurd claim that they weren't true christians – then i would say your christains were never true atheists. people can and do change their minds despite the ridiculous notion that they can't ever leave christianity or they never believed it. time to wake up sheeple.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Reality

      A case for rational thinking based on thorough historical research:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      "New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      January 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Trancicfly

      I think you're overlooking a very important point. Studies have shown time and again that atheists tend to know MORE about religion than the professors of those religions themselves. Many atheists come from religious backgrounds but dared to question the theology they were fed; they've done far more soul searching than the average Christian. What about all the brilliant minds that weren't Christian, but deist or atheist? For the sake of balance, shouldn't you quote them, too? Or are you not quite as open to exploration and reason as you let on?

      January 19, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Don

      Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell are hacks and frauds.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  17. ThorLover

    Clearly this man does not believe in Thor – the one true god. No matter. Thor and his mighty hammer find all men in time. Once you get the hammer, you don't need faith at all. Hammer time!

    January 18, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • bama

      it is amazing how hatefully these christians are they put down everyone and call them names if they do not beleive the same thing they do, fine examples here you need to go read your bibles again and learn how to behave

      January 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  18. Christian

    Read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. He was a staunch atheist before being challenged about his beliefs by a certain man named JRR Tolkien. He finally realized that atheism is far too simple, he then logically worked through and intelligently explored Christianity. If you don’t want too read, there is an audio book on youtube. The true intellect keeps an open mind.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • detroitjames

      I'm sorry, but religion is just senseless man made dogma. I can think for myself, thanks.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • messickc

      "The true intellect keeps an open mind."

      Funny. Coming from a Xtian, and all.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • riverrunner

      c.s. lewis uses flawed logic. for example he claims that jesus must be lunatic, liar or lord – while neglecting that his teachings could be legend (in that the writers of the bible embellished the stories to a point where miracles take place etc). ask yourself why do no miracles ever take place today. but people like you rarely ask questions.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • NL

      And the moral of the story is that usually the simplest answer proves to be the right one. It took ages for Tolkien to wear Lewis down and, in the end, Lewis rejected Catholicism for the Church of England, and I doubt that he would find much in common with American evangelicals.

      Christianity is just way to convoluted, with way too many contradictions and failures in logic, to be correct. Besides, for every atheist that ever converted there are likely more believers who are dropping out. I was one, and the number seems to be increasing each day.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Christian

      Would you consider 'yourself' to be open-minded...?

      Peace...

      January 19, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Don

      Lewis wasn't an atheist.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  19. detroitjames

    My issue is, this "god" you speak of gave me this brain, with the ability to think, reason, and logically deduce. I'd hate to offend your "god" by using these "god-given" abilities. Anyone else who believes ANYTHING at all with no basis in reality and no scientific evidence is called a loon.

    For some reason, religion gets a free pass.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • LdftRightLef

      Only from the religious.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  20. Klaark

    He's not and never will be my brother, so I'm that hurt. Can anyone guess what part of the country has the worst schools? Did you guess the south? Are you still curious as to why?

    January 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • LdftRightLef

      I think the problem is in their water.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.