Who is my brother?
A firestorm has broken out regarding comments by Republican Governor Robert Bentley, who at his inauguration made some statements meeting backlash. The comments were religious in nature and analyzing those comments as well as some of the responses to it will be examined in this article. First, however, who made the following comments?
“My faith teaches me, that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”
“I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.”
“The final thing that I think the Moses generation teaches us is to remind ourselves that we do what we do because God is with us. You know, when Moses was first called to lead people out to the Promised Land…the Lord said I will be with you. Throw down that rod. Pick it back up. I’ll show you what to do. The same thing happened with the Joshua generation.”
And now, perhaps the statement which will make the speaker obvious:
“America is no longer a Christian Nation”.
This speaker is a famous politician. These words are his and they were said while acting as an official of the United States. Was there a big back lash by atheists, liberals, or Muslims? What did they think about all of this religious talk? Barak Hussein Obama spoke these words. He spoke them as he often speaks about religion and often has picked up the “preacher voice” as did Al Gore. While there may be doubts about his Christianity vs. his dedication to Islam, in general, the only backlash Mr. Obama received were from the false words in regard America no longer being a Christian Nation.
Now consider Mr. Bentley. Here are the words which he has spoken and has been attacked over:
“if you’re a Christian and you’re saved … 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.”
It has never been a secret that Robert Bentley is a religious man. His own website bio describes him as a being a deacon and teacher at the church he attends. His views appear to be in accordance with his faith. It is these views by which he was elected by the fine people of the state of Alabama. What needs to be asked, despite outcry from those who don’t share his views, is whether or not he was speaking the truth with the words he shared? Was he being consistent with who he portrayed himself to be?
Mark 3:32 – And a multitude was sitting about him; and they say unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answereth them, and saith, Who is my mother and my brethren? And looking round on them that sat round about him, he saith, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
These words are those of Jesus Christ. Jesus makes it clear that only those who are obedient to God are his brothers and sisters. The apostle Paul, a preacher of the gospel which Jesus shared, made the following statement:
Galatians 6:10 – So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.
Paul made it clear there are those that are of the household of God and those that are not. Those of the same household are brothers and sisters. Mr. Bentley was simply pointing out a fact to his audience. More importantly he expressed another truth. All men can become brothers and sisters if they so choose. And Mr. Bentley hoped that they would choose to do so.
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The term “Greek” in the above verse was a reference to the rest of the world. The Jews being the first to have the gospel be brought to them by Christ as he was also a Jew. Thus, all people are invited to accept salvation through Christ. Mr. Bentley did nothing but share truth and open invitation to all those listening. He wanted to share with them a relationship that is very important.
What did Mr. Bentley not do? Mr. Bentley did not tell someone he would not fulfill his job to the best of his ability and help all people. In fact he stated he was: “governor of all of Alabama — Democrat, Republican and independent, young and old, black and white, rich and poor.”
Ashfaq Taufique a Muslim, was worried about being less important to Bentley than Christians. Christians actually would consider Mr. Taufique more important, because likely, Mr. Bentley considers Taufique a lost sheep. As by the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15, Mr. Taufique is at the top of the list as far as importance. Jesus Christ himself stated that the faithful to God should love their enemies. This means Mr. Bentely will definitely be concerned about Mr. Taufique.
Taufique made the following statement: “Does he want those of us who do not belong to the Christian faith to adopt his faith?” The answer is yes. He does. In the same way, all Muslims want all non-Muslims to adopt their faith. However, there is a difference. Christianity does not demand anyone be a Christian. Christianity is interested in all men’s physical and spiritual welfare and offers them a choice. Islam, on the other hand demands acceptance. If acceptance is not received, then the individual will be forced into compliance or put to death.
Was the statement Mr. Bentley made unconstitutional? What about the constitutional “separation of Church and State” and government not promoting religion? Here is what the first amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
First, as previously established, all the way to the White House religion is discussed. How? Because it is free speech and free speech cannot lawfully be suppressed. Second, Mr. Bentley did Mr. Bentley establish a law to which Christianity was demanded to be adhered. No. He was simply discussing personal issues which were widely known to the people he represents. This is completely within his right as an American. In no manner, shape, or form was anything Mr. Bentley said unconstitutional.
The final issue to be examined is whether or not Mr. Bentley said something offensive. Consider the words of Jesus:
Matthew 15:10-12 – And he called to him the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth the man. Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying?
Woo! Jesus said something offensive! The creator of all things offended someone! The question is: Did he then grovel, beg to be forgiven, state he was wrong, and take courses on being politically correct?
Matthew 15:13 – But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up.
In other words, he told his disciples when informed that he had offended someone, “They better get things straight or they are going to have to deal with God in the end”. No apology, no shame, no pc talk, just straight truth from the lips of Jesus. People are going to be offended by the truth. Especially, when it means it contradicts what they believe. What should be offensive is when individuals think they can suppress speech which is protected by law.
There may be those who do not like Governor Robert Bentley, but what he has done is not out of the ordinary. He spoke about religion. He spoke the truth. He expressed a desire for all to come to that truth. He did not reject anyone. He was within his constitutional rights by saying what he said whether or not they offended someone doesn’t make a difference. The bigger question is, will he betray his stated principles when faced with criticism? Hopefully not! If he stands by his convictions that would certainly be out of the ordinary for a politician.