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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. Doc Vestibule

    GOD SONG (Bad Religion)

    And did those feet in ancient times trod on America's pastures of
    Green?
    And did that anthropocentric god wane with their thoughts and
    beliefs all unseen?
    I don't think so.
    He's up there with the others laying low, vying with those who you've traded your life to to bless your soul
    And have they told you how to think, cleansed your mind of
    Sepsis and automony?
    Or have you escaped scrutiny, and regaled yourself with depravity?
    Now we all see, "religion is just synthetic frippery, unnecessary in our expanding global cultural efficiency"
    Don't you fear this impasse we have built to our future?
    Ever so near, and oh so austere

    January 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  2. Earthman

    Well he has toned things down a bit since AL. had Gearoge Wallace for a gov. Nobody had any doubts about what he was saying. Too bad the god that these type of zealots believe in is so jealous and angry. Having his "Chosen People', giving them orders to killl the inhabitants of the "Promise Land" or the "New World", seems to require NOT seeing these inferior folk who are in the way of "Manifest Destiny" as brothers and sisters. Perception of reality lies in the eye of the beholder. One group sees god's will in progress another percieves the same event as a holocaust.... as in the plight of the indiginous folks of America. Close your eyes that you may "see" and awaken.

    January 20, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  3. Muneef

    Religion traveled with Man and it was reason of Human immigration and expending of the family tree.
    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/the-human-family-tree-3706/time-line

    January 20, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  4. Muneef

    Al-Hadid sura 57:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Allah; and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (1) His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He is Able to do all things. (2) He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. (3) He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knoweth all that entereth the earth and all that emergeth therefrom and all that cometh down from the sky and all that ascendeth therein; and He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah is Seer of what ye do. (4) His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and unto Allah (all) things are brought back. (5) He causeth the night to pass into the day, and He causeth the day to pass into the night, and He is knower of all that is in the breasts. (6) Believe in Allah and His messenger, and spend of that whereof He hath made you trustees; and such of you as believe and spend (aright), theirs will be a great reward. (7) What aileth you that ye believe not in Allah, when the messenger calleth you to believe in your Lord, and He hath already made a covenant with you, if ye are believers? (8) He it is Who sendeth down clear revelations unto His slave, that He may bring you forth from darkness unto light; and lo! for you, Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful. (9) And what aileth you that ye spend not in the way of Allah when unto Allah belongeth the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you). Such are greater in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. Unto each hath Allah promised good. And Allah is informed of what ye do. (10) Who is he that will lend unto Allah a goodly loan, that He may double it for him and his may be a rich reward? (11) On the day when thou (Muhammad) wilt see the believers, men and women, their light shining forth before them and on their right hands, (and wilt hear it said unto them): Glad news for you this day: Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein ye are immortal. That is the supreme triumph. (12) On the day when the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women will say unto those who believe: Look on us that we may borrow from your light! it will be said: Go back and seek for light! Then there will separate them a wall wherein is a gate, the inner side whereof containeth mercy, while the outer side thereof is toward the doom. (13) They will cry unto them (saying): Were we not with you? They will say: verily; but ye tempted one another, and hesitated, and doubted, and vain desires beguiled you till the ordinance of Allah came to pass; and the deceiver deceived you concerning Allah; (14) So this day no ransom can be taken from you nor from those who disbelieved. Your home is the Fire; that is your patron, and a hapless journey's end. (15) Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah's reminder and to the truth which is revealed, that they become not as those who received the scripture of old but the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened, and many of them are evil-livers. (16) Know that Allah quickeneth the earth after its death. We have made clear Our revelations for you, that haply ye may understand. (17) Lo! those who give alms, both men and women, and lend unto Allah a goodly loan, it will be doubled for them, and theirs will be a rich reward. (18) And those who believe in Allah and His messengers, they are the loyal, and the martyrs are with their Lord; they have their reward and their light; while as for those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are owners of hell-fire. (19) Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman, but afterward it drieth up and thou seest it turning yellow, then it becometh straw. And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion. (20) Race one with another for forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whereof the breadth is as the breadth of the heavens and the earth, which is in store for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. Such is the bounty of Allah, which He bestoweth upon whom He will, and Allah is of Infinite Bounty. (21) Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before we bring it into being – Lo! that is easy for Allah – (22) That ye grieve not for the sake of that which hath escaped you, nor yet exult because of that which hath been given. Allah loveth not all prideful boasters, (23) Who hoard and who enjoin upon the people avarice. And whosoever turneth away, still Allah is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (24) We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure; and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind, and that Allah may know him who helpeth Him and His messengers, though unseen. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. (25) And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the prophethood and the scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers. (26) Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism they invented – We ordained it not for them – only seeking Allah's pleasure, and they observed it not with right observance. So We give those of them who believe their reward, but many of them are evil-livers. (27) O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah and put faith in His messenger. He will give you twofold of His mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein ye shall walk, and will forgive you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful; (28) That the People of the Scripture may know that they control naught of the bounty of Allah, but that the bounty is in Allah's hand to give to whom He will. And Allah is of Infinite Bounty. (29).

    January 20, 2011 at 7:19 am |
  5. Muneef

    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    Where would American atheists fit here?

    January 20, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  6. Muneef

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not ye, are puffed up with pride? ―Some ye called impostors and others ye slay! (87).

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    Those messengers We endowed with gifts some above others: to one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed they would not have fought each other; but Allah fulfilleth His plan. (253).

    January 20, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  7. Muneef

    Al-Baqara Sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    "Our Lord! send amongst them a Messenger of their own who shall re-hear-se Thy Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and purify them; for Thou art the Exalted in Might the Wise." (129).

    Al-Baqara Sura 02:
    A similar (favour have ye already received) in that We have sent among you a Messenger of your own re-hear-sing to you Our signs, and purifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and wisdom, and in new Knowledge. (151) Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and reject not faith. (152). 

    Al-Baqara Sura 02:
    He granteth wisdom to whom He pleaseth; and he to whom wisdom is granted receiveth indeed a benefit overflowing; but none will grasp the message but men of understanding. (269).

    Al-E-Imran Sura 03:
    Allah did confer a great favour on the Believers when He sent among them an Messenger from among themselves, re-hear-sing unto them the Signs of Allah, san-cti-fying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error. (164).

    An-Nisa Sura 04:
    But for the Grace of Allah to thee and His Mercy, a party of them would certainly have pl-otted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only lead their own souls astray and to thee they can do no harm in the least. For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou knewest not (before); and great is the Grace of Allah unto thee. (113).

    An-Nahl Sura 16:
    Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth, best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (125).

    Al-Anaam Sura 06:
    And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allâh, lest they insult Allâh wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair¬seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do.[] (108)

    January 20, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  8. Muneef

    Al-Hujraat Sura 49:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    O ye who believe! if a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done. (6) And know that among you is Allah's Messenger: were he, in many matters, to follow your (wishes), ye would certainly suffer: but Allah has endeared the Faith to you, and has made it beautiful in your hearts and He has made hateful to you unbelief, wickedness and rebellion: such indeed are those who walk in righteousness― (7) A grace and favour from Allah; and Allah is full of Knowledge, and Wisdom. (8).

    If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just). (9) The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers: And fear Allah that ye may receive Mercy. (10).

    O ye who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong. (11).

    O ye who believe! avoid sus-picion as much (as possible): for sus-picion in some cases is a sin: and s-py not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the f-lesh of his dea-d brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (12).

    O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (13).

    The desert Arabs, say "We believe." Say "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say `We have submitted our wills to Allah.' for not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught oft your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful." (14) Only those are Believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and have never since doubted but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah: Such are the sincere ones. (15) .

    Say: "what! Will ye instruct Allah about your Religion?" But Allah knows all that is in the heavens and on earth: He has full knowledge of all things. (16) They impress on thee as favour that they have embraced Islam. Say "Count not your Islam as a favour upon me: nay, Allah has conferred a favour upon you that He has guided you to the Faith, if ye be true and sincere. (17) "Verily Allah knows the unseen of the heavens and the earth: and Allah sees well all that ye do." (18).

    January 20, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  9. Muneef

    Al-Hashr Sura 59
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    O ye who believe! Fear Allah and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (18) And be ye not like those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget themselves souls! such are the rebellious transgressors! (19) Not equal are the Companions of the Fire and the Companions of the Garden: it is the Companions of the Garden, that will achieve Felicity. (20) Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah, such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect. (21) Allah is He, than whom there is no other god― Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He Most Gracious, Most Merciful. (22) Allah is He, than whom there is no other god― the sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection). the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. (23) He is Allah the Creator the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the exalted in Might, the Wise. (24)

    January 20, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  10. LeftRightLef

    Christians are a funny sort. Brainwashed. Just the history of the bible is enough to persuade any intelligent person that it is rife with nonsense. Those that use the King James version....what more do you need? ... It was written by men who repeatedly had to take it to the King, until he said it was OK. Then read the first page. Those authors say that the King OKing it is OK, because the King was there by God. Sheet! That's worse than the pope! You folks believe in that nonsense?? Where, tell me where, is this intelligence you claim to have? There's actually more to the history that makes believing in the bible even dumber – I just chose one of many reasons. Get your teeth in it and send back some more points of ignorance.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  11. Johnjon

    whatever happened to separation of church and state?

    January 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      What happened to te separation between church and state? Nothing as it does not exist!
      Any and all restrictions were placed only on Congress and no one else! After all "Congress shall make no laws..."

      January 20, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  12. MPM

    Lord's Power to you, Brother!

    I hope we can get more people like you in office!

    January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  13. RB

    Wow! This is disturbing. Let's assume reluctantly that god exists and he gave birth to all humans. Wouldn't those humans who don't acknowledge god, still be his children? Even granted several gigantic assumptions, this nut still lacks reason.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  14. Sigh

    There is no god. The sooner everyone realizes this the better.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Fearless

      So say the follower of a no god religion...deep inside you know!

      January 23, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  15. LeeCMH

    There you are, a hateful Christian.

    January 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  16. Timothy Bopp

    This is a typical comment from the governor of a Southern state. Did Christ actually say that if you were not with him, you were against him? The answer is obviously NO. Yet this ignoramus
    proposes to speak on behalf of all of Christianity. I am a Christian and I am ashamed that I live in
    a country governed by this kind of a person. If we are to adapt to the new political realities of
    the 21st Century and survive in an increasingly diverse world, we have to stop lunatics like this
    from getting power. Otherwise, God help us.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      This is a typical comment from the governor of a Southern state. Did Christ actually say that if you were not with him, you were against him? The answer is obviously NO

      From Matthew 12:25-30

      25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation ; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand :
      26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand ?
      27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out ? therefore they shall be your judges.
      28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
      29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
      30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad .

      Obviously the answer is yes!

      January 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  17. EmeraldCity

    3 posts, CNN and none of them using profanity. Why are they stuck in moderation land?

    So here's the last line of it: This man needs to be removed from his position.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Sadly, their filter flags posts even if it spots "naughty words" contained within other words. For example, you can't write "consti-tuition" without the hyphen because it sees the word "ti-t" contained within it.

      January 20, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  18. Patti

    Two things are certain: death and taxes. Religion deals with the first, and government deals with the latter. There is no practical difference between religion infringing on government and government infringing on religion. Good government is like a traffic light, it facilitates civilization rationally and without distinction. Whatever happened to asking God for the wisdom to govern and to bless the state? If you do not acknowledge "non-Christians", what is next? Jesus was a victim of religious persecution, and asked God to forgive his executioners. So perhaps a little moderation is in order.

    January 19, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  19. franklins

    Jesus never hated those who did not believe in Him. So the Governor should not have said that those people are not his brothers and sisters. Jesus has said Love you Enemies. And preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. So the Governor should put God first in everything and show His presence in His activities and talk, so that whole World would know that there is Christ living in Him. Not by talking like this.

    January 19, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  20. GoodGrief

    JadedHonor, if anyone is being a hypocrite, it's you. Why, you ask? Because ONLY the victors write history.

    January 19, 2011 at 11:01 am |
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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.