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-Alabama Governor Says Only Christians are His ‘Brothers and Sisters’?

by Dr. D ~ January 19th, 2011

imageAlabama Gov. Robert Bentley started a controversy on Monday by telling an audience  at a Baptist church in Montgomery that he only considers fellow 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. 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. 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.”

Members of the press were present so his statements were reported and immediately started a controversy for the just sworn in Governor. His press secretary Rebekah Caldwell told the Birmingham News:

“(Bentley)is the governor of all the people, Christians, non-Christians alike.”

Also in a speech on Monday celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. he indicated his intention to govern in accordance with King’s legacy:

“I was elected as a Republican candidate. But once I became governor … I became the governor of all the people. I intend to live up to that. I am color blind.”

Response: Governor Bentley violated the PC dictum that all of humanity are brothers and sisters regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Is the new governor wrong like many believe?

No, not necessarily. But the context here is everything and the remarks were meant specifically for a Christian Audience. However, the new governor is now learning that the press is going to be with him wherever he goes -even in a church .

The remarks were given in a church before a Christian audience and fellow Christians are part of the family of God and brothers and sisters in Christ in a special theological way. It is a view that is clearly supported by scripture and specifically by the teaching of Jesus. Fellow Christians are ‘brothers and sisters’ in a sense that does not include any other group. Christianity is unapologetically ‘exclusive’ in its teachings and perspective and always has been.

However Christians are also called to treat everyone as their ‘brother’ and their ‘neighbor’ as themselves and their own family. In the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ Jesus demonstrated that this commandment does cross race, nationality, and religion.

I am sure the good governor believes in that very Christian teaching also, else he probably wouldn’t even be in public service. In fact his statement on MLK Jr. Day does reflect that expanded understanding.

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4 Responses to -Alabama Governor Says Only Christians are His ‘Brothers and Sisters’?

  1. Mike S

    & this is the leader of Alabama…What a mess!

  2. Dr. D

    Yes Mike it is for sure. Also a clear misunderstanding to boot but the good governor should have known better- he is in the big leagues now.

  3. Darlene

    I think two concepts are being incorrectly compared here: “brothers” and “neighbors.”

    Christians are called to love their neighbor as themselves. It’s the second greatest commandment. When asked, “who is my neighbor,” Jesus replied with the Good Samaritan parable which illustrates that anyone is our neighbor and that we are required to love them like we love ourselves.

    However, the New Testament clearly makes a distinct separation between the concept of “everyone” (God so loved the world) and those who are in Christ as being “children of God.” Those who are in Christ are brothers and sisters in Christ.

    So I believe the message of the Governor was misunderstood by the press. Although, granted, the Gospel is offensive and foolish by nonbelievers by claiming exclusivity to salvation through Christ and being in God’s family. But what has been lost is that the Governor was making an appeal to nonbelievers to become part of God’s children. To become one of his brothers. It was an evangelic message. It requires no apology. That is Christianity.

    So even if you aren’t a child of God, the governor is called to love all of the people of Alabama like himself and perhaps he should have made this statement to “soften” the blow.

  4. Dr. D

    Thanks Darlene,
    You are 100% correct here and that was the whole point of my article. You actually said it far better than I did.

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