Gov. Bentley's 'Christian brother' remarks hit sour note

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Critics say new Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley hit a sour note with his inaugural day remarks about Christianity.

Just moments into his new administration, Bentley told a church crowd in Montgomery on Monday that anyone who isn't a Christian isn't his brother or sister. And he says he wants others to accept Christ so he can be their brother.

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday called Bentley's remarks shocking and offensive. The organization says Bentley's comments raise serious questions about whether non-Christians can expect to be treated fairly by his administration.

After his speech, Bentley said he didn't mean to insult anyone. The new governor is a longtime Southern Baptist deacon and Sunday school teacher.

Governor Bentley's office released this statement Tuesday regarding the comments at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church:

"Governor Bentley clearly explained in his Inaugural Address, his belief that he is the governor of all of Alabama. The Governor clearly stated that he will be the governor of all Alabamians – Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor. As stated in his address, Governor Bentley believes his job is to make everyone's lives better."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)