New governor's words don't upset many in Alabama

You can spot a Baptist church from almost any hilltop in Alabama, so it's not hard to find people who agreed with their new governor this week when he said only Christians are his brothers and s...

You can spot a Baptist church from almost any hilltop in Alabama, so it's not hard to find people who agreed with their new governor this week when he said only Christians are his brothers and sisters.

Even so, some of his brothers and sisters thought he could have found a nicer way to say it.

It's unlikely that Republican Gov. Robert Bentley will suffer politically from his inauguration day remarks, which he made from a church pulpit at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday service Monday.

"I don't think he was too smart to say that," 72-year-old Ron Brooks said as he was getting his hair cut at a barber shop in Wetumpka, a suburban town about 20 miles north of Montgomery. But Brooks, a retired employee of a defense contractor, said he's "inclined to agree" with Bentley's statement.

Baptist churches are a fixture in every tiny corner of the state, many of them Southern Baptist, the same denomination Bentley follows.

There are about 1.1 million members of about 3,300 Southern Baptist churches in Alabama, said Keith Hinson, a spokesman for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. There are believed to be as many as 600,000 others who are members of Baptist churches that are not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Keith Nicholls, a pollster at the University of South Alabama, said in his polls of Alabama residents, often as many as 70 percent identify themselves as "born-again Christians."

Bentley's comments Monday shocked and offended some nonbelievers and member of other faiths and stoked criticism from across the country. The governor apologized Wednesday for the remarks after meeting with leaders of Alabama's Jewish community.

A lifelong Baptist who works at a two-pump gas station in rural Rock Creek, Angel Byram said Thursday she understands what Bentley meant with his original comments.

"I get what he was saying. It didn't bother me," said Byram, who was selling a soft drink and headache powders to a coal miner at the small store on Warrior River Road.

"But being in a public office like that (Bentley) should have thought of others," she said. "If I wasn't Baptist and didn't believe that way I would have been offended."

Byram said it was good that Bentley apologized. "But I wonder if he really meant it or was just saying it like politicians do," she said.

Kay Cummins of Hueytown said she wasn't offended by Bentley's speech and didn't think he should have apologized.

"I wouldn't have," said Cummins, working in the fellowship hall at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which she attends.

"I see really nothing wrong with what he said. I think it was innocent, and people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill," said Cummins, who voted for Bentley. "I was offended that he hadn't even been in office as hour and they were already taking him apart word by word."

Talk radio shows in Montgomery were full of chatter after Bentley's remarks, with some callers saying the governor shouldn't have apologized.

Retired Auburn history professor Wayne Flynt, who has written a book about the history of Baptists in the state, said the controversy won't damage Bentley in Alabama, where candidates typically portray themselves as Christians, with campaign commercials often showing them at church.

"I don't think this hurts him at all within the state. I think it really helps him with his very conservative base," said Flynt.

Flynt said Bentley's problem was that when he made the remark about his "brothers and sisters" he was speaking in "insider language" that was misunderstood by many outside the Baptist faith.

Bentley made the remarks at the predominantly black church where King first served as a pastor in the 1950s. Flynt said he believes the governor was trying to show the black Baptists that he includes them in his family, but went too far when he said non-Christians were not his brothers and sisters.

The barber at the Wetumpka shop, 59-year-old Jimmy Spivy, said he doesn't think Bentley meant to offend anybody.

"I just think it was a slip of the tongue. I think Robert Bentley is going to be our best governor," Spivy said.

At a downtown Montgomery restaurant, 72-year-old retired appraiser Kervin Kelley summed up how many Alabama residents seemed to take Bentley's remarks.

"He probably shouldn't have said it, but it didn't bother me," Kelley said.


Associated Press Writer Jay Reeves in Birmingham contributed to this report.

In Other News

fake money

Keywords clouds text link

 máy sấy   thịt bò mỹ  thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhomegương trang trí  nội thất  cửa kính cường lực   lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà 

Our PBN System:  thiết kế nhà xưởng thiết kế nội thất thiết kế nhà tem chống giả ban nhạ  ốp lưngGiường ngủ triệu gia  Ku bet ku casino buy fake money máy sấy buồn sấy lạnh

mặt nạ  mặt nạ ngủ  Mặt nạ môi mặt nạ bùn mặt nạ kem mặt nạ bột mặt nạ tẩy tế bào chết  mặt nạ đất sét mặt nạ giấy mặt nạ dưỡng mặt nạ đắp mặt  mặt nạ trị mụn
mặt nạ tế bào gốc mặt nạ trị nám tem chống giả  công ty tổ chức sự kiện tổ chức sự kiện
Ku bet ku casino
Sâm tươi hàn quốc trần thạch cao trần thạch cao đẹp

suất ăn công nghiệpcung cấp suất ăn công nghiệp

© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.