Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Brethren in Alabama

“All men are brothers” is an assertion of our common humanity. So it
seemed like a rejection of it for Alabama’s newly elected governor to restrict
his own brotherhood to fellow Christians–or, more accurately, to
fellow evangelicals. When you say, as Gov. Robert Bentley did, “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,” you’re talking the
evangelical talk.


Now if Bentley had just said, “…you’re not my
brother in Christ and you’re not my sister in Christ, and I want to be
your brother in Christ,” it would have been a bit redundant, but
innocuous. No Jew or Muslim wants to be someone’s brother (or sister) in

So why was Bentley denying the common humanity of his
non-Christian brethren and sistren? He wasn’t. The Southern Baptist
deacon was just expressing the wish–declaring his Great Commission
hope–that he could be the brother (in Christ) of all those
non-Christians, if only they’d hit the sawdust trail. Really, though, as
a white Southerner of a certain age, he was cuddling up to his
African-American audience at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church,
assuring them that he considered himself more their brother than, say,
some white person who hadn’t accepted Jesus.


And so he had to be educated. After receiving a shot from the ADL and meeting
with local Jewish leaders, he delivered one of those quasi-apologies:
“Should anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised, I want to
say, ‘I’m sorry.'” Not only did he pledge
that he would be the governor of all Alabamians and uphold the
constitutional principle of religious freedom, but also, when asked
asked at a press conference after the meeting whether he considered
those in attendance to be his brothers and sisters, he replied, “Yes,
yes I do.”

Well, I’m glad that’s settled.

Comments read comments(3)
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posted January 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

I for one do not beleve his sincerity. He has clearly delineated who is and who is not his “brother and sister”. He has exposed his inability to be impartial and to be the Governor of ALL his State’s citizens.
And it ain’t just the Jews who are upset. Muslims and Hindus are also equally insulted at his smear.
Why do religionists insist on foisting their beliefs on others?
Also, Mark, please read and comment on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the “religious” request seeking to invalidate the 10-month-old same-sex marriage law in D.C. (Links available on request.) Comment on it is entirely missing from B’net’s bloggers and news reporters. Care to take up the mantle?

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posted January 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

The politician’s “if I offended anyone” non-apology is the most annoying part of incidents like this. Either stand behind your words, or say that you were wrong.

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posted January 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Bentley said what he had to in order to attempt to take his foot out of his mouth. IMO he firmly believes what he said, and the apology was insincere. It was a political move. Time will tell how he runs the state I used to live in.

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