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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. JadedHonor

    @Dave
    "t's not those who believe the Bible one should worry about but those who don't believe the Bible"

    so in other words you are saying non-Christians are a threat and should be dealt with accordingly?

    also to the one who said it takes years to read your bible, you are full of it. I have read your bible cover to cover, front to back and back to front in less then five days.

    one of the most boring fictional books to ever been written, and hate to break it to you 666 is just a Jewish letter to number name of a roman emperor and your book of revelations was nothing more then a warning of said emperor coming to town so they could hide.

    anyways the core of what he said was the most bothersome thing of his whole speech and how he will be playing favorites while in office, he should be impeached for that.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  2. Douglas Phelan

    I am an atheist and do not see any problem with what the Governor said. He spoke to his church about his beliefs and made bold statements. I think that should happen more.If more people spoke like he did I believe we could all come to a greater understanding. I believe we ask too much of our politicians to totally remove who they are in order to serve. I would only ask the he deliver the same basic message within his position just without the words that directly relate it to a religion. Perhaps, something like I believe that we are all created equal. I believe that we are all one family. I believe that we should all do our best to support and love our family. Any of those among you who act against a member of our family I will accept and aknowledge your choice, with great sorrow, that you no longer wish to be a member of this family. Know this too, that I will do everything in my power to protect this family if you try to harm it in any way! " It think if he said something like that at a Governmental function it would be consistent with what he said at church and help those who doubt his intentions gain a greater understanding of what he believes.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  3. Thurman Roe

    He is not saying he cannot be fair & just to everyone, its just that Spiritually speaking they are not related. Democrats, Republicans, Independents & any other political party are not the same and speak about their "differences" but are expected to work together so whats the problem. Our Goverment can walk beside, shake hands with , eat meals with, exchange ideas with & enter agreements with Countries and other organizations that are known violators of human rights, religous freedoms and numerous other issues but let one person take a stand and speak the truth about who they are with Jesus Christ and we have a huge debate on how that person cannot be fair to others. People are so hipicritical to think there is a true seperation of church & state. Our religious beliefs are always a part of us and cannot be seperated. It doesnt mean however that just because of that we cannot work together for the common good of mankind.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  4. JadedHonor

    @GoodGrief

    Funny how you neglected to talk about all the cold blooded murders the Christians did when they could not convert Pagans and then there are the inquisitions that cost many more lives as well. so why don't you Christians stop being a hypocrites and open your eyes and see the blood that stains your hands of men, women, and children of other religions which can never be washed off.

    no you wasn't born when that happened but because you 'bare' the cross of your god you all get to share in the blood of those Innocent people that was slaughtered. so no matter how hard you try to ignore that you will never be able to forget it because people like me will always be there to make sure your religious cult will always be reminded of that.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Dave

      There was absolutely no Biblical Justification for the Inquisition. As a matter of a fact, it's completely contrary to what Christianity is and what the Bible says and was conducted by those who used the faith for personal gain but were void of the faith. It's not those who believe the Bible one should worry about but those who don't believe the Bible

      January 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • BlackDahlia

      Could you elaborate? Who exactly did the killings and to whom? Why?

      January 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  5. Dave

    The man spoke the truth about what the Bible says. He said it in a church from what I understand, not in a public arena. I think that's still his privilege, isn't it? Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship? Now, if one has any gripe about his treatment of them because of their religious or no religious beliefs, then they certainly have a reason but no one has any right to try to take this man's freedoms away just because he holds office.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  6. Woody

    I love The Lord.. but his comments were completely out of line. He should be immediately impeached and removed from office. People like him give Christians and Alabamians a bad name.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Dave

      If you're a Christian, you should believe that what he said was true. Do you not?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  7. civiloutside

    The thing about the governor's statements is not that they're offensive. If he feels brotherhood with his fellow Christians, good for him.

    But what's troubling about his public declaration is what it says about how he will go about representing his consti-tuents. It at the very least suggests that he may favor Christian issues over the secular and/or non-Christian matters that are in his province to govern, and is a signal that voters may be well advised to watch for bias or the imposition of a religious agenda in his use of his office.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • EmeraldCity

      That is exactly right. 100%

      The fact that he made this speech, right after he was sworn in, a speech that privileges one group of people over others, speaks for itself. He basically implies that his Christian brothers and sisters will be those that he first and foremosts considers in his capacity as governor and it's very troubling.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  8. tombroke

    This man needs to open his Bible. Enough said

    January 19, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  9. GoodGrief

    I find it amazing that non-believers insist that their opinions be heard rebuking Jesus' truth that they never took the time to read cover to cover, book by book, scripture by scripture. But, some will blatantly lie and say they've read the Bible several times over and over again. Lies. It takes a lifetime to read the Bible and comprehend what you are reading. That's why Christians know non-believers who spout this nonsense are indeed LYING. They believe hook, line and sinker what other non-believers peddle them as their truth away from God's truth (e.g., Jesus is a way for the elite to control the masses, brainwashing for the simple minded, we (non-believers have our own minds and we use them), poor poor Christians are being this or that and the most absurd of all ... not being independent thinkers (LOL to this one folks). All of that propaganda is just that. Propaganda so you won't search His truth (how sad for you). Your curiosity is automatically conditioned to be turned off to the Truth of what Jesus our Lord and Savior who died for all our sins has to tell us to be the best that He wants us to be while living in these flesh bodies.

    Then Peace2All ask the question if Christians believe ourselves to be open-minded? Are you kidding us with that question? When we tell non-believers what the Lord writes for all to understand, yet non-believers refuse to comprehend His wisdom, we get bombarded with the same ole same ole nonsense of what other non-believers before you spoke/wrote lies flying around cyberspace. Just once I'd like to hear an original opinion from a non-believer that comes from their gray matter without other non-believers conditioning mantra found on the Net. So Peace2All Yes to your question even though you bore us with your dull subject matter that you all claim to be your own. Original thinking on non-believers parts??? Absolutely debatable! Mute point.

    Amen.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • LJ

      You do see the contradiction in stating, “It takes a lifetime to read the Bible and comprehend what you are reading.” Yet you keep posting as if you have comprehended it greater than someone else has. How can that be when you believe it takes a lifetime…

      January 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • civiloutside

      I think this is also the same guy who told us the Bible's message is so simple a 5-year-old could understand it. I suspect that it is whatever it needs to be at any given moment to justify his condemnation of whoever doesn't believe it. It's "simple" when he wants to potray us as stupid, and "requires a lifetime to read and understand" when he wants to portray us as lazy and/or liars.

      Sadly, it's impossible to have a rational conversation with anyone who starts from the assumption that everything you say that he disagrees with is simply a lie. The only point in trying to rebut him is to save others from falling into his traps.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Why waste time rereading a book that is obviously a tangle of contradictory myths and badly written fables?

      January 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Douglas Phelan

      this is a reply to civiloutside
      "I think this is also the same guy who told us the Bible's message is so simple a 5-year-old could understand it." I would argue that this statement could be true. Perhaps the simple nature is easily understood by those who think in simple terms. When we get older our lives fill with complications and we must learn to think in complicated terms. Perhaps, we forget what it was like to be a child. Perhaps, we forget how to think in simple terms and may not be able to understand simplicity anymore. Thinking in complicated terms does not necessarily mean it lacks intelligence. Thinking in simple terms does not necessarily mean it lacks intelligence either.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      AAAAAGGGGHHHH! It's not mute point, it's MOOT point. Religious individuals and atheists alike get this one wrong. Come on, people! It's not that hard.

      On the topic of this post, I tried to read the bible, but I found it rambling and poorly written. I tried reading the Harry Potter books, too, but like the bible, I just couldn't get into them. They were well written, but far too derivative for my tastes.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Douglas – I wasn't saying that a simple message equals stupid. I was saying that Good Grief uses the "it's simple" argument to characterize atheists as being stupid for not getting it, and the "it's too complicated to understand in a lifetime" argument to characterize us as liars when we say we have read it and understood it, but don't buy it. Basically, that he seems quite happy to self-contradict in order to make his arguments.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  10. JadedHonor

    What I don't understand is how some christens can easily forget about the fact that they slaughtered so many non-Christians because they had refused to change theirs but how easy it is for them to play the 'poor me I am being persecuted because I am Christan'.

    So tell me Christians how can you be such hypocrites?
    does it come easy or do you have to work at it?

    January 19, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Wanderer

      Which Christians are you referring to? The ones who are the Catholics, or the ones that left to keep from being killed by them, back then?

      January 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  11. keith

    What an idiot....I don't like bilble thumpers knocking on my door trying to force their religion down my throat, and I certainly would not want a leader pushing their personal beliefs upon me. You were elected to perform the business of the state, not turn your office into a religious pulpit. You're probably one of them religious zealots that will be exposed for cheating on your wife and saying she has forgiven you in the eyes of the lord.....sorry dude, the lord doesn't forgive for committing adultry.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • LeftRightLef

      Keith,...I'm not a Christian, but I am curious as to how you come about your extraordinary knowledge about god not forgiving adultry? If I recall correctly, the bible has more than one reference to adultry by people you admire...I think one example was even at the behest of God. (Was it Abraham?) ps I'm too lazy to look it up, besides, I don't have a bible, and why would I, I'm not Jewish. (You know, the chosen people....according to God...or did he change his mind?)

      January 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  12. JadedHonor

    @ Lester Gillespie.

    "Jesus told us that in the end times we would be hated, persecuted and murdered just for our belief in Him. Believe or don't believe at your own risk."

    Oh you mean like when Christians murdered countless Pagans, Celtics, and so on because they would not change their faith?

    So get of your high horse you hypocrite.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  13. Todd McGuiness

    We are all sinners in a fallen world and we all fall short of God's standard. God came to earth as a man who taught us how to live and died on the cross to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We accept this gift of God's sacrifice by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The governor's message is that Christians hope that one day we can all have the saving grace that comes with a relationship with Jesus Christ. This isn't hatred or bigotry.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  14. God

    Whoops! That's E-mission. He's not restricted to Virgins, you know.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  15. God

    And he hasn't had an emmision for 2000 years, so watch out!

    January 19, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  16. JadedHonor

    @TJ,

    He stated that he would only listen to Christians who share his beliefs and will ignore those who are not is what the core of all this 'silly controversy' because that means he will only be pushing religion based laws.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  17. Lester Gillespie

    These anti Christian comments should come as no surprise to Christians. Jesus told us that in the end times we would be hated, persecuted and murdered just for our belief in Him. Believe or don't believe at your own risk. I myself could care less either way. God didn't create robots. He created people who have free will. So it's your choice. I don't want to see anyone "burn in hell", but if you want to live your life without Christ, that's your choice. All I can and will do is pray for you regardless. All this man did was proclaim his relationship to other Christians, in a Christian Church. If he were Muslim the majority of you would be afraid to say anything for fear of your lives. Let's have tolerance for everyone's beliefs but the Christians. Like I said, believe or don't believe at your own risk. I'll wish and pray for God the Father to give you blessings. I am not judging you, but be aware God will!!

    January 19, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  18. ron brooks

    Oh boy here we go again. Another Bible thumper leading Alabama further into the dark ages using the religion trump card.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  19. pci

    I am an Atheist, I am not offended by the comments made by the Governor. What offends me is the idea that this is a country of freedom, until you voice your opinion or state your thoughts... then the fun begins. People its OK to disagree, its OK to have an opinion, its OK to stand up and speak your mind. Is it that people disagree with the content of the message or the forum in which it was delivered, he's in a church, talking to God loving people... if you can't talk about God in a church or state your thoughts or opinions about God in church then where else would you like this to happen. You see the problem here isn't what he said or how he said it... the problem here is there is no problem... I believe in the freedom of speech, I believe we all have the right to speak our mind, I believe there is a time and a place for everything... and if a guy can't stand up in a church and say what he believes about his faith then the problem is maybe the media shouldn't be reporting about... but hey the media deserves those same rights as well... I guess it just comes back to being a responsible person while speaking in public, reporting to the public, living in public... living with the responsibility of Freedom.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Douglas Phelan

      Well put

      January 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  20. God

    I'm getting tired of all this crap. No one seems to be recognizing the Holy Ghost anymore. He's full of sperm, you know.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Gods FOLLOWER

      WATCH OUT! BLASPHEMY of the HOLY SPIRIT is an UNFORGIVABLE SIN, Iin this life and the next!!

      January 19, 2011 at 7:18 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.