“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.”
Quite an unfortunate statement to make on your first day on the job. Sadly, I am not overly surprised anymore by such a pious and arrogant attitude.
The governor’s comments are a perfect example of the “holier-than-thou,” self-righteous beliefs held by many evangelical and conservative Christians. As a practicing Christian myself, I am appalled that so many of my fellow Christians harbor these arrogant feelings.
I am very proud to say I have good and dear friends who are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, agnostic, and atheist. Frankly, when I see my Muslim friends fasting during Ramadan, I believe their spirituality is as great, if not greater, than that of any Christian.
Beyond the insensitive rhetoric towards non-Christians, the governor’s statement also raises other nagging political questions like:
- Whatever happened to inclusiveness?
- Whatever happened to representing all the people of the state of Alabama and not just those who have your religious point of view?
- Whatever happened to freedom of religion?
- Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
Hopefully, Monday’s speech by Governor Bentley was a rookie blunder and is not a sign of things yet to come in Alabama or elsewhere in the United States. It is the fact that you can peacefully assemble and practice your religious beliefs without disturbance that sets the United States apart from most other nations around the world. It was our openness that brought so many to this country in search of religious freedom in the first place. And it is our diversity of ideas, opinions, beliefs, and cultures that makes us a stronger nation than we would otherwise be.