Rabbi, others concerned with Gov. Bentley's comments

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Just hours after Governor Bentley took the oath of office, he gave a speech at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church that some believe hurt Alabama.

"I really think it was something he should not have said since he's coming in as the governor of Alabama to represent all the people. And there is such thing as separation of church and state," says Shelia,.

Bentley told a church crowd that anyone who isn't a Christian isn't his brother or sister.

Some say the comments raise serious questions about whether non-Christians can expect to be treated fairly by his administration.

Directors at the center for progress in Alabama say the comments are divisive.

"I think to make a statement like he did is really to insult all those who are of different faiths who are very hard working members of our community and have made our state a better place," says Director of the Center for Progress in Alabama, Jason Childs.

A spokesperson for Governor Bentley issued this statement in response to concerns saying:

"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."

"I think that everybody's human, and sometimes we make remarks and we wish we could take back, or else we could expand on," says Karen Rutledge-Bell.

"It's a term that we typically use as brother and sister in Christ. And I think that's what he was getting at, not necessarily trying to offend anybody," says Olivia Ziglar.

Some folks believe the Governor should apologize, while others think he deserves a second chance since he just got into office.

After his speech, Bentley said he didn't mean to insult anyone.

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