The manifest destiny of a Christian American theocracy took a bold step towards the light this week with the inauguration of Alabama’s new governor, Robert Bentley.
The day before taking office, Bentley, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, spoke at Dexter Street King Memorial Baptist Church, once led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. An occasion meant to honor Dr. King on his holiday seemed to have quite the opposite effect. Said Bentley:
But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have, if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives with me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.
Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So 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, and I want to be your brother.
Maybe he was just getting it all out of his system while he could.
What’s worse, if you read the news article, you’ll see plenty of people (the Anti-Defamation League notably excepted) are open to defending him or at least equivocating about his intentions. It must be really bad for non-Christians in Alabama if they’re afraid to even say, “Yeah, I was pretty damn offended” on the record.
This is ridiculously offensive. We’re a nation with a history of denying groups of people a role in their government, and here’s a newly elected official who seems eager to govern in just that way.
And who says “daddy”?
I don’t think folks realize how fragile the separation of church and state is. They’re not non-overlapping magisteria; they both deal with serving the people, so we have to try our hardest to maintain the boundaries we can. Electing religious leaders to government positions does the exact opposite, and Bentley is a shining example.
If you pause and consider the phenomenon of the religious right, you realize how bizarre it is that a political point of view so concerned with the constitution is the most concerned with violating the intentions behind it. Of course, snap back to reality and remember that integrity has nothing to do with it; it’s all about power. Try to make rhyme or reason out of it and you’ll get nowhere (If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college).
We’re not a Christian nation. That meme is just the largest-scale example of the George W. Bush approach to truth. Say it enough and act like it enough and people will buy into it.
Alabama, you have my sympathies. Maybe all you Jews, nonbelievers, and other non-Christians can be at least counted as 3/5 of a brother or sister.
You know what would be great? To hear some Christian groups condemn him, to stand up and say, “This was not Christian behavior and we disapprove of infusing such evangelism into state government.”
I guess they’re all too busy filing their amicus briefs to help the Department of Justice defend DOMA.