I feel like this blog needs to be written, especially at this point in time.

Recently, the freshly inaugurated Governor Bentley of Alabama made a statement to Alabamians.

“Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters,” he added, according to the paper. “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.”

Now.

People are making a mountain out of a molehill on the one hand. I think some people are trying to act shocked and appalled that a governor from Alabama would even begin to make statements of a religious nature.

Folks, in Alabama, politicians don’t make a clear distinction between Christianity and the government. That’s not news. That’s an understood reality.

But that’s not my personal beef with the statement.

Do I think it should have been said? Probably not- because in saying it, Governor Bentley has opened up a whole can of worms and turned the unwanted spotlight onto Alabama and its people.

Admittedly, though- and I think we need to be intellectually fair in making this assessment- Governor Bentley’s statement was coming from his own theological system, and he was stating that he wanted to be the brother of those to whom he was not.

In essence, without twisting his words or altering the meaning, Governor Bentley was asking for others to come to salvation in Jesus Christ- which for him was an act of compassion, a reaching out, a sharing of his own spirituality.

He apparently meant it to be a charitable act, not an inflammatory one.

We need to understand that first.

Now that we’ve understood that his heart was in the right place, we can begin the intellectual and theological breakdown of the statement, which is a different matter.

First, he is representing a government office- the office of Governor in Alabama, namely. The inauguration is meant to be a ceremony of the bequeathing and acceptance of the political office, and as such, it must reflect and abide by the rules, regulations, laws, and oaths of the USA. The political office does not require and does not necessitate one to make a religious affirmation of any sort, nor does making such a statement enrich the office. If anything, it detracts from it.

So the real issue here is that the fresh Governor took a private matter of his own life and inserted it into the middle of a ceremony that had nothing to do with the private matter. There was not a reason to bring it up.

Theologically, I could argue from a Gnostic point of view, and go into the extremes of “Jesus-as-Liberator” as opposed to “Jesus-as-Savior” in order to argue that the whole point is that we’re all already brothers and sisters, and accepting Jesus as a Savior gets in the way of following Jesus’s example on how to become liberated.

But I’m not going to argue from that point of view right now.

I think the main issue is that Governor Bentley shared an opinion- a theological opinion– and assumed that the audience shared his theological opinion.

He misses the point, though- Christians aren’t to treat non-Christians as though they weren’t brothers and sisters. To the contrary, the essence of Christianity, as reflected in history and as reflected in the Scriptures, is that Christ Himself helped the poor, the disenfranchised, the tax-collectors, the prostitutes, the sick, the hungry, and the general rejected and neglected of society.

Summarily, Christ was there for those who needed Him.

That is, Christ was there for those people that normal-people society looked down upon.

This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

However, I am familiar with the particular theological angle that Governor Bentley was using as well- the idea that if we are not adopted into God’s family by Christ, then we are not Children of the Father, and so on. It’s a rather superficial and patchwork understanding of Christianity, and that particular approach does more to create a division between the “Christians” and the “non-Christians” which is a false dichotomy, and honestly, categorizing people according to “Christian and non-Christian” doesn’t sound like something Jesus would had advocated in the first place.

So in closing, I would say that Governor Bentley’s statements were at best shallow theological opinions, and that the rest of us, the Thinking Minority, should probably ignore them.

Despite all that, I still wrote this blog.

Beaux

 

 

 

 


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