January 19th, 2011
06:47 PM ET

Alabama's new governor apologizes for Christian comments, rabbi accepts

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

What a difference a couple days can make.

On Tuesday, Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Alabama, fired off a letter to his state’s new governor. He, like many others, was still reeling from comments Gov. Robert Bentley made Monday.

The Bentley remarks that sparked controversy were delivered to a Montgomery Baptist church audience. In them, the just-sworn-in governor suggested that anyone who doesn’t share his Christian beliefs cannot be counted as a “brother or sister.”

So Miller responded, saying he felt "a duty to my conscience and my role as the rabbi of the largest synagogue in Alabama."

The rabbi wrote of feeling “disenfranchised” by Bentley’s words and reminded the new governor that Alabama’s Jews are “faithful people” who also happen to pay taxes, vote, send their kids to the state’s schools, follow the laws and “work, each of us in our own way, for the betterment of all.”

“Our great nation, by law and tradition, provides us with religious freedom. And even though we do not believe exactly alike,” Miller wrote, “we ought to see each other with brotherly affection, and as equals in conscience and human worth.”

Reached Wednesday afternoon on his cell phone, Miller said his concern had dissipated. He was in his car, traveling back from Montgomery, where he’d just met with Bentley.

“He’s looking to fix the thing,” Miller said after the 75-minute meeting, which included about half a dozen concerned community leaders, including those of other faiths. “He was apologetic. He’s clearly looking to reconcile himself. He said today, ‘All of us have put out words we wish we could take back.’”

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bentley apologized for his remarks.

"The terminology that I used I believe seemed to disenfranchise other religions and it certainly was not meant to do that," he said. "And what I would like to do is apologize. Anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised I want to say that I’m sorry. If you’re not a person who can say that you’re sorry than you’re not a very good leader."

WBRC: Bentley meets with religious leaders over controversial remarks

Miller made sure Wednesday to invite the governor to come on up to Birmingham and join his synagogue for services, a Shabbat dinner, maybe even address the Temple Emanu-El crowd.

“All my concerns from this incident are put to rest, but, of course, as a minority religion we always have our antennae up,” Miller said. “We certainly expect from his words and deeds today that he will not be a governor who will divide us over religious issues.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Judaism • Politics

soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. Francesco Ferrante

    The name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will all always be an offense to the unsaved. Gov Bentley whimped out pure and simple. Like so many others, he is seeking the approval of men rather than the approval of the one true God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And we all know who that is. (Hey Rabbi) he is the corner stone you guys of rejected and keep on rejecting. your Messiah (Jesus Christ) and our Lord and Saviour.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Nate C

      All of the three major faiths worship the same god. (The god of Abraham.) Educate yourself, moron.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jon

      I'm trying to figure out where people were offended by the name of Jesus. People were offended because he basically said he only represents people that share his same exact religious views. At best you misunderstand the problem of what he said; at worst you're just a moron.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • UncleM

      If he was educated he'd realize it's all made up nonsense.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • CochleaDoc

      News flash to nutjob: Separation of Church and State. He's a publicly elected official by people. People. Ya know, those creatures that supposedly were created by a guy in a long flowing stoner robe. You religious freaks scare me with your brainwashed fairy tales.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Berry

      Yes, just as the name of my Lord and Savior, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, shall always be an offense to those unsaved by Him. He will soon unleash His Noodley Wrath on all non-believers, leaving only the true Pastafarians to inherit the universe. But if you want, the next time I talk to His Holy Invisibleness, I can put in a good word for you. Might help if you start wearing full pirate regalia, though. Pronto.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • c freezy

      very true........

      January 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Picklejuice

      LOL...I think it's funny that you think you're right, Francesco. On the god squad dream team huh?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • dhlh

      "The name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will all always be an offense to the unsaved." Typical persecution complex here. Listen, I'm not Muslim and the name of Allah doesn't offend me. I'm not Buddhist and the name of Buddha doesn't offend me. Knock it off, please. Christianity doesn't get to be more "special" that way.

      I used to attend church; I know they teach that it's a virtue to stay firm in your beliefs in the face of persecution. That doesn't mean you invent persecution just so you can feel more virtuous. Seriously, don't do that.

      Contrast that to someone saying flat out that people who aren't like him are somehow lesser fellow humans. *Now* who's being offensive?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • rrogij

      Don't pay any attention to PickleHead - he's just an angry Democrat with no spiritual backbone. Becuase if he had any spiritual foundation, that would require him to submit to the Father in heaven. And don't worry - he WILL submit on judgment day. Just like Paul, he's just a blabber mouth who lacks understanding. He's a proud, yet angry Dumbocrats (standard issue) who thinks he has all the answers. The Father will address those deficiencies in the due course of time. In the meantime, he has heard enough from Christians and knows what to do - he just refusely to submit. God help his soul.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Picklejuice

      @ rrogij

      Hehehe 🙂 youre wrong on both counts.

      Im a girl..and I am also a conservative 🙂 You better get prayin that god gives you better insight with regards to your assumptions! 🙂

      January 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Mark

      OMG (so to speak), laughing too hard "Flying Spaghetti Monster"...c'mon we need to give him props for originality 😉

      January 20, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • IkanThink

      The "unsaved" you refer to are most often UNBELIEVERS. There is nothing offensive to us in an imaginary deity until an elected official, should he believe his obligation to his god is first priority, runs for PUBLIC office which requires him to serve all citizens, protect their civil rights – if his imaginary deity is his focus HE SHOULD NOT HAVE RUN. Don't backpedal or be a hypocrite. I don't give a rat's ass what his dogma says, his dogma is not in control of the nation or the state. As an atheist, I will never be his sister, and if I lived in Alabama, I would demand fair justice and be alert to his clouded judgment in terms of social policy. He needs to grapple with this and be a man and get out – go pray, judge, and hate to his shrivelled little heart's desire.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  2. Bob

    It takes hatred of other religions to say the things he said. I think this guy is just trying to save his job so he's trying to back track but I don't think for a second he means anything else. He said what he means and that's what he's about...a religious freak with political office.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • pierce

      Yeah, the jewish lobby is so strong in that god-forsaken state.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • frontgate

      Remember the Gov. is a Baptist.
      It's what they're all about.
      Fear, paranoia, mistrust of those different than themselves, etc.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Zinger

      Frontgate's final sentence described Jews to a T.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Mark

      It's Alabama what else do you expect? he said exactly what the Baptists needed to hear, then backtracked and told the Rabbi's and others what they in turn needed to hear.

      January 20, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  3. i rock

    Crybabies. .rabbi shake n bake should be quiet

    January 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • frontgate

      another baptist speaks, or froths at the mouth

      January 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • CochleaDoc

      Yeah, I'm tired of the Jews. We should wipe them ou... Oh wait, that's been tried before. Actually, all through out history that's been tried. Wonder why a Rabbi would take issue with having the newly elected governor to a historically racist state make a racist comment? F*king moron...

      January 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Texan

      Spoken like a true born again idiot.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  4. norman

    Nice to know that Neanderthals are alive and well...

    January 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  5. mabear87

    Bently is no Christian. He is a bigot and prejudges others. He does not turn the other cheek and on and on. He needs to go to church, learn about Christianity and shut up about others. He is closer to a devil worshiper than a Christian, but then again, most Christians are not and do not practice the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament!!!

    January 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • inkorrekt

      Who are we to judge the Governor? God has called us to love even our enemies and never to judge anyone. The only one who can Judge is God. Have you ever seen a perfect Christian? I have not seen one either. Because there is no one who is perfect. I am not perfect either. Because, I am imperfect, I have noright to accuse anyone else. Best thing I can do is to keep my conscience clear and do what is right and good before God and men 7 days a week (Not just on sundays)
      Being a Good christian only on Sundays is true hypocrisy. So, pleeeeeeeeeze forgive your Governor for the mistake he made. Now, I am apologizing to you on behalf of the Governor. Please accept my apologies.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  6. Moses

    This is nonsense! I agree with Chris' comment wholeheartedly. Every pastor has the freedom to preach whatever are taught in the Bible at church. So does every Christian! If Gov. Bentley's comment within the church sounds offensive to other religions, then every pastor and their sermons have the similar problem!

    January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • UncleM

      That's because all religious makebelieve is offensively ignorant and bigioted

      January 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • CochleaDoc

      Here, I attached a link from Wikipedia explaining what the concept of "Separation of Church and State" means.


      In addition, just to drive the point home with this little fact: The Founding Fathers were not Christian. I know, crazy. Your country was founded by non-Christians. Crazy stuff.... *sigh*

      January 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • trex

      Moses, you said it yourself. There IS a difference between a Gov and a Pastor. One administers to the faith of Our Father, the other administers to the affairs of that state. Keep them separate.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  7. CEL1

    I would think he's just sorry he got caught, based on the way he handled the apology. He didn't see it himself that he was wrong, he had to be told that some voters were ticked off.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  8. Joshua Goldensteinberg

    All we can say to this is "Oy Vey." You gentiles will, one day, see the error in your ways.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • RayRay

      Did we not collect enough pennies and paper clips in memory of the Holy Shoah?

      OMFG, what have we done wrong?

      January 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • jeff

      RayRay: Thank you for your pennies. Joshua is referring to worshiping a false messiah.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  9. JTinCowtown

    a clown showing off for the congregation like some puckish child capering before an audience of dull-witted, adoring kinfolk

    January 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  10. Jesus Cristo

    What do you expect of the repukkkes?

    January 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  11. dave

    What politicians WONT say in front of a crowd to get their support.
    Kinda makes you wonder that to be psychopathic attention mongers are drawn like flies to politics. "PLEASE LIKE ME! PLEASE ACCEPT ME!!' Of, sorry if I said offended anyone, I was just trying to be liked at the moment.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  12. Midwestmatt

    You said it, you meant it and now you're lying through your teeth because your intolerant, VERY unChrist-like comments were heard outside the congregation who most certainly agrees with you and supports you.

    One more reason I'm not a "Christian" is because I'm not an intolerant bigot who backtracks on his comments once caught.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Edwin


      While I agree with your analysis of the situation, I think that is a poor reason to not be a Christian. You should be, or not be, a Christian because you believe, or do not believe, in Jesus as your savior. Whether bigots and idiots call themselves the same thing should be no consequence whatsoever.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  13. Bannister

    The Rabbi says – "of course, as a minority religion we always have our antennae up"

    Boy, that's the understatement of the year! Any slightest perceived slight against the Jews (whether real or imagined) is immediately met with howling condemnation. But Jewish screenwriters in Hollywood have been mocking, ridiculing and demonizing Christians (as well as Southerners and conservatives) with outright impunity for years!

    For the record, I'm against ridiculing ANYONE'S religion. I just wish that more Jews in the news and entertainment industry would "practice what they preach."

    January 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • howling?

      Funny, I didn't hear this rabbi howling. But I do hear a bigot named Bannister barking away.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Rogan

      On a related note, any chance Rep. Steve Cohen will apologize for his Gentile-baiting "Nazi" comments on the floor of the House?

      January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Nate C

      Except this isn't "Hollywood"...this is Alabama, where prejudice against minority religions is a very real thing.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • CochleaDoc

      Have you ever read a history book? Your ignorance is profound. If you turned off the TV, and headed to the library for the next 20 years you might, just might be able to save yourself from yourself. You are why the world hates Americans. We say woefully stupid stuff...

      January 19, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • ComeOn

      There's also a very real difference between making fun of a religion and telling them they do not belong (or are not your brothers and sisters). The ridicule in Hollywood goes both ways, there are plenty of Jewish stereotype jokes (Spaceballs, while not recent, is a good example of this).

      Stop crying victim when you are in no way a victim.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Bannister

      To "Howling?" – I agree, the Rabbi was not "howling" here, he was being cordial and that's fine. I was merely pointing out the glaring double standard thats exists between Jews and Gentiles.

      Rogan – I doubt it.

      Nate C – Hollywood affects all of us because it's words and images flow into every television set and movie theater in the country. The films and television shows that are produced in Hollywood have FAR more impact than what is said in a little Alabama church.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Grist

      So Banister, you are blaming the entire American Jewish population because you think that Hollywood screenwriters are all Jewish and they trash Christians in their movies? Wow.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Bannister

      Grist – If you read my comment carefully, you'll see that I specifically mentioned a PORTION of the Jews in the NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. So no, I am not blaming the entire Jewish American population some of whom are my friends and associates.

      CochleaDoc – I'll stack my bookshelf against yours anyday....

      January 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • McIntyre

      "Spaceballs" was made by one of the Jewiest of Jews. Jews can mock their own, in good humor, when they're not ridiculing white Gentiles, with the illest of will.

      When was the last time a goy got away with even the mildest of Jewish jokes?

      January 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • CochleaDoc

      Time-Life books don't count.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Bannister

      CochleaDoc – Good one.

      And as a matter of fact, I'm proud to say that I DO still have some of my Time-Life books. Learned a lot from them when I was younger.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Dean

      To Rogan: Cohen didn't make a 'Nazi' comment. That is just another of the propagandist lies. He made a comment about Goebbels – one of the greatest propagandists in modern history. It is the propagandists that want to relate it to Nazis rather than to propagandists. In other words, what Cohen actually said was that Republicans are using propaganda like Goebbels. He did *not* say they are like Nazis. Think critically much? Or do you just parrot the right-wing propaganda?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Abudu Rahman

      As A Cohen supporter in his district in Memphis, I don't believe he should or will. His statements were absolutely correct whereas the buffoon in Alabama was being ignorant. I don't recall one Christian in the Bible being Jesus' brother or sister.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Cohen didn't make a 'Nazi' comment." "He made a comment about Goebbels ..."
      I think that is defined as a distinction without a difference.
      Cohen didn't compare Republicans to Nazis, just a Nazi propagandist.

      January 20, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Reads

      James was Jesus's brother... Thye even found him buired right next to jesus.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  14. Brad

    As an elected official, he always wears his hat as governor and represents the state's government, regardless of where he is. It's as simple as that.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  15. ingrid

    Chris...of course, he has a right to freedom of speech, but he is the Gov. of ALL the people of his state and his unnecessary statement suggests that he if you are not a christian who loves Jesus, then he does not have room for you. I do not live in Alabama so I am not that invested but I am not keene on elected officials saying things overtly religious or that exclude people.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  16. Kenneth

    I am a Christian and this knucklehead is no brother of mine. He only apologized because he realized the number of votes he lost was greater than the number he would gain.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Mark

      he might be Christian on Sundays but he's an opportunistic politician during business hours, and that's all this apology is – taking care of business, smoothing out the ruffled feathers – and trying not to lose any votes.

      January 20, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • inkorrekt

      To Kenneth:

      Sir, I am aChristian. I am apologizing on behalf of the governor. He spoke the truth but did not complete it. In his speech he should have added adisclaimer. He should have said,' i thank you all for voting me in as your Governor. You all voted me in not because I am a christian.But,you all trusted me that I will serve you faithfully to everyone, christian and nonchristian alike. You are my brothers and sisters though you may not be a christian"

      I am sure this is what he meant. But he failed to state. As Christians we are commanded to love even our enemies. I had a difficult time doing this. Today, I can say that I do not hold any grudge against anyone who had hurt me. Jesus christ delivered me and He has given me the power even to love those who hurt me. Same thing is true for you also. Who am I to accuse anyone else? I am a sinner just like anyone else. I may not commit the same sin that others commit. I am still a sinner before God. So, please forgive the governor and let us move on. .

      January 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  17. LouWho

    Onward Christian Soldiers !

    January 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Lilly

      That's Israel's de facto national anthem.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  18. Bhush

    i appreciate a good apology, and his seemed heartfelt. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. It was an unbelievably moronic thing to say, though.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • David

      Up here in Maine, we would be ECSTATIC to have a Governor who knew the value of an apology.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • AL02

      I don't think the apology goes far enough. He should acknowledge that any person of good, peaceful intentions is his brother/sister. We may have different "Daddies," but we all have one Grandpa.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Mike C

      I am inclined to accept his apology. Not being in his head, I cannot know how sincere he is or isn't. It does take guts to assume responsibility for one's words in the political field. Let us hope he does not get a diplomatic assignment any time soon, however.

      January 20, 2011 at 5:59 am |
    • buffsterJ

      At least he offered an apology, unlike certain other "politicians" who are just petty, spiteful, and mean, in spite of claiming to be Christian.

      January 20, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  19. jeff

    I wonder if his comments would have generated controversy if he had stated to the audience at the church that he shared a special bond with his "brothers and sisters in Christ" ?

    I guess we'll never know, but I think that might have been better received...

    grace and peace,


    January 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • messickc

      Np, they wouldn't have. I am an Alabama atheist. We have accepted his apology, but we are keeping a close eye on his agenda in the coming year. We still don't trust him.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      There's an atheist in Alabama? Do the authorities know about this?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • RC

      There is more than one... I'm glad to hear that Gov. Bentley understood that his choice of words carried a weight that may be unintended but was certainly felt by many.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Mike


      Alabama Atheist? Sounds like an oxymoron. Best of luck to you there. I hope they don't find you out and string you up.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Abudu Rahman

      This guy is a moron and he's stupid. According to him Jesus would not have been his brother. The last time I checked the Bible Jesus was not a Christian. None of the prophets of the Bible were Christians either. So according to bozo none of the biblical heavy hitters were his brothers. Even the mother of Jesus was not a Christian. In his asinine statement he disowned more than 85% of the major players in the Bible as his brothers and sisters.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • messickc

      I think you'd be surprised by our numbers. Most of us still live in the non-religious closet. Even I hide in it most of the time.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • hillcrester

      Abudu Rahman–the unwed father of Jesus wasn't a Christian either!!

      January 20, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Mary J

      There are Agnostics in Alabama as well. *raises hand*

      January 20, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Lee

      @Dave I'm really PO'd at you. How dare you insult neanderthals.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Danny

      Is there any group of people on the face of the Earth who are more defensive than the Jews? I detect some serious issues there.

      January 20, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Daws

      Definitely woulda been better, I agree. Oh well. I think the hoopla likely happened for other reasons though. A straw that broke the camels back sorta thing...

      January 20, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  20. Peace2All

    ...THANK YOU...!


    January 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • GOD Help Us All

      Be careful what you wish for, Aezel. It may just come true.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • cliffdogg

      I don't accept. This is his heartfelt belief, and the belief of millions. As well as the belief of many right wing GOP politicians, only they have the savvy not to say it out loud. No, I don't accept his apology.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Ken in MO

      It is clear, this man has been exposed for what he is...a BIGOT! He said exactly what he believes...all the Republicans eventually do. I too am a Christian...NOT a Kristian. He is worried that he disenfranchised them...my behind...he is worried that he has shown the world what he truly is. Many "Christians" today are opportunist...and have nothing to do with God...they are a polical party and not a religion. Like I said, I am a Christian and love Jesus...but what it means to be a Christian today is VERY different than the lord I was raised to believe. Makes me very sad. You cannot say, "forget about my neighbor" or "forget about the poor" or "who cares about the children or the elderly as long as my corporation gets their tax cut" and be a Christian.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • chris

      this man apologizes now for votes, such a good little christian fundie , im glad im not his brother . nor wish to be a brother of anyone else with this type of behavior . i will answer to my god no one else's thank you .

      January 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Andrew

      @GOD Help Us All

      Yes, he may get what he wishes for, I wish to win the lottery, and to be frank, I could buy a single ticket and still have a way better shot at getting 40 million dollars or something than Aezel does having some strange deity coming and targeting specifically him for blasphemy.

      Seriously, "be careful what you wish for, you may get it", that's a true statement, but that doesn't mean what you wish, or dare, or whatever, is terribly likely. God has so little evidence supporting its existence that the threat carries as much weight as "be careful if you wish to see a comet, a piece may break off and run right through your heart". It's a silly meaningless threat.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • chris

      THEY LEFT OUT thenext sentence or two!!!!!!!!!

      ONLY QUOTED PART!!!!!/ EDITED!!!!!!!

      after that, he said... something like he wish they would but loves everyone like a brother or something like that....it wasn't allll that bad, really...... truth be told.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Jared

      May the Lord be praised. EVERY knee (not "some") shall bow and EVERY tongue WILL confess.... to ZORASTER – the true God. See, the whole assumption is that Jesus is king... but really it Zoraster. Don't blame the heathen mooslems for killing of the true religion – truth is still truth . Now, you want to know why granny died of Alzheimers? Because she prayed to the wrong God. Want to know why Uncle Fred got hit by a car? He confessed his sins.... to the wrong God. Cousin Joe died of brain cancer? He should have prayed to Zoraster. Duhhhh.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • paganguy

      Just like Tiger Woods. Saying "I am sorry" is not an apology. He is sorry he was caught. None of this guys ever humble themselves to say from the heart: "I apologize"

      January 20, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Barbara

      Not to be snotty, but Zoroaster never claimed to be God, nor was/is he worshiped. The name of his god is Ahura Mazda.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Lee

      Doesn't matter if he apologized or not. We know what he feels inside, his words were quite clear. So if you're not a christian you know you're not welcome in Alabama at least while he's governor. He's such a religious bigot he should immediately resign.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • VegasRage

      He's sorry that he got caught.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • matt

      why apologize? Governor spoke his mind and now we all know how he thinks.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Benji

      he's only apologizing 'coz people cried foul when he effectively suggested he won't listen to non-christians and mushed church and state back together. i'm sure he doesn't believe his own apology and is inwardly more angry towards non-christians for poiting out his bigotry.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Pope Benedict

      Bentley Bigotry is more evidence that religion is the worst thing that ever happened to civilization.

      January 20, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Matt Wilson

      Religious tolerance is the red herring no one wants to notice for what it is. You, christians, have you ever actually picked up your bible and read it? And I mean actually read it, cover to cover. Your own doctrine tells you to wage unceasing war against those who believe in another god, and to spare not he who blasphemes against the creator. (And despite the mosaic law having been broken, and a new covenant formed, it still says that the old law will be in place until the world has ended). Which, of course, is also true for judaism. Islam says the same thing.

      But you know what? The average person can't accept that kind of behavior. Would you really go out and kill a gay man for your faith? Or does your morality come from somewhere else, where murder is unacceptable for ANY reason?

      This man's apology is either entirely insincere, or he's rejecting his own faith. You choose.

      January 20, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      I would love to believe this reconciliation to be a real change of heart. I don't this governor is the same as many X-tian extremists they say exactly what they think and then back pedal from the statement. It is a political way to fire up your fanatical base while seeming to admit you "said things you shouldnt" I am not a Christian or a X-tian I am wiccan and I would bet this govenor wouldn't even allow my faith in to such a meeting of "leaders of faith" in to his office. He is nothing more than a bigot who stives for self gain and ideological supremacy over all Americans. He is in fact a Republican which today means something far different than being a republican in 1960 – 1980 did.

      January 20, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Don

      Knees do not bow and tongues do not confess, rrogij. People bow. People confess.

      January 20, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Jeff B.

      Cliff – perhaps you dont know that the far right , be they GOP or otherwise, often angelical and are hardened supporter of Jews.

      January 20, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • karl

      The gov is not only a bigot, he's also an idiot. I can't decide which shortcoming is worse. Whatever the f*** happened to separation of church and state?!?! But remember, this is Alabama we're talking about – a state that's no more than 2 or 3 generations out of the stone age.

      January 20, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Serene S.

      Yeah, his apology is meaningless because it's just words. He said exactly what he meant. Just like Gordon Brown, he says what he means an then apologizes but you know that's what he really believes.
      Hope Alabama is happy about who they elected!!!

      January 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jim

      Don't be fooled by Bentley's "apology." His wording is full of conditional speech ("Anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised I want to say that I’m sorry."), which means it's -only- directed to those who felt "disenfranchised." Further, his apology is only to those who "heard those words." Finally, he says, "If you’re not a person who can say that you’re sorry than you’re not a very good leader." His use of the word "you" means specifically that. He is quite intentionally deflecting blame from himself to a hypothetical "you" (or a generic listener) to specifically transfer blame. The sentence also lacks any attribution to himself, which accused people are loathe to do. He's not sorry at all. I hope others reach the same conclusion.

      January 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.