Wednesday, January 19, 2011
My Family is Crazy Enough, Thank You...
When politicians are sworn into office, there is often conversation about their "striking the right tone" during their inaugural address. Alabama's new governor, Robert Bentley, who was sworn in on Monday, certainly chose an interesting tone for a speech he gave shortly after taking office, and it has raised eyebrows, if not a little ire as well.
Speaking at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, Bentley told the crowd that he considered anyone who believed in Jesus to be his brothers and sisters regardless of color. And then he said, "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister."
Critics quickly pounced on Bentley's comments, wondering whether as governor, he can be fair to non-Christians. While his office countered the criticism by explaining that Bentley believes "he is the governor of all Alabama," representatives of other religious and anti-discrimination organizations question this. An official with the Anti-Defamation League said that it sounded like Bentley was using the office of governor to advocate for Christian conversion, which would violate the First Amendment.
Whatever Bentley's intentions, religion has no place in politics. No one religion is better than another, and for him to claim only Christians as his "brothers and sisters" sets an inappropriate tone for someone elected to govern all people in the state, regardless of religion, race, sex, ethnicity or age.
I believe people have the right to believe whatever they wish, but they should not try and foist those beliefs on others, especially when they are in a position of power. Politicians often forget they need to do what is right based on the well-being of the people and the desires of the electorate, not their religious philosophy.