Governor’s speech at church divides us

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe we can push it aside as being the first day on the job; not knowing what all the buttons do, where all the hallways lead.

But someone as polished a politician as to be elected the governor of the state should know how to avoid making news on his first day for the so-called divisive comments he makes in a public speech than for the tone he sets for his administration or the policies he sets forth.

Tuesday, Nov. 2 was more than two months ago, so Gov. Robert Bentley has had plenty of time to work on the first public speeches he was going to give on inauguration day.

Heck, the polls showed him winning far ahead of that Tuesday, so we can only assume he began working on inaugural plans in mid-October.

Gov. Bentley is right to say that Alabama is a state built upon faith. It was. It is. In fact, our entire country is built upon faith and the freedom to practice it whichever way an individual sees fit.

But where he went slightly off line was when he said “so anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior,” he said to a group gathered Monday at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. “I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

It was the proper setting to have such a discussion. It was even the topic to share with many who do not share Bentley’s faith.

But, he should have known that it was these statements, and not the ones about putting Alabamians back to work, the media would talk about. It is these statements, which some have called divisive, people would be talking about rather than the reconciliatory tone of being governor for all Alabamians and not just the governor for those who supported him.

We will let it go as just learning the ropes of Montgomery and understanding how your words, now as governor, carry much more weight and are more scrutinized then they ever were in a doctor’s office.

Let’s just hope the governor’s press secretary is ready for this period of adjustment.