Alabama Governor Causes Stir Over Faith Comments In Speech

01.19.11 | Sarah Harnisch

The newly inaugurated governor of Alabama is already causing controversy over his faith. On Monday, Robert Bentley told a crowd that people who had not accepted Jesus as their Savior-- they were not his brothers and sisters. He said "anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, though i want to be your brother." He went on to say he has a totally different relationship with the unsaved.  The Anti-Defamation League, a group that primarily fights for Jewish rights, has jumped all over this. They issued a statement Tuesday saying he was using his office to advocate for Christian conversion. Secular groups are questioning whether Bentley will give equal treatment to non-Christians while in office. Bentley issued a statement saying he is the governor of all Alabamians-- "Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor." Comment boxes on the story have garnered hundreds of statements of support-- one reads "Bentley's speech is biblically and theologically defensible from a Christian perspective, and it's not the Anti-Defamation League's job to judge Christian theology"-- another says argues that no one is mentioning he was addressing a church crowd. The new governor is a longtime Southern Baptist deacon and Sunday school teacher.