Ala. governor apologizes for `brothers and sisters' comment

January 20, 2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized to
anyone who was offended with his inaugural day comments that
non-Christians were not his "brothers and sisters."

Bentley met for an hour with members of Alabama's Jewish community
on Wednesday (Jan. 19), and afterward told reporters he meant no insult
with his words.

"What I would like to do is apologize. Should anyone who heard those
words and felt disenfranchised, I want to say, `I'm sorry.' If you're
not a person who can say you are sorry, you're not a very good leader,"
Bentley said.

Bentley made his controversial comments after his inauguration
Monday when he spoke at the Montgomery Baptist Church where Martin
Luther King was once pastor.

Bentley, in his comments at the church, said other Christians were
his "brothers and sisters" and non-believers were not, although he
wanted them to be.

Bentley said he was speaking in the language of his evangelical
faith to other Baptists. The governor said he will never deny his
beliefs, but regretted if he offended anyone.

"I do have core beliefs, I will die with those core beliefs," he
said