Religion,  Stateside

Can we at least be his cousins?

The new Republican governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, said Monday that only those who are Christians and “saved” like he is are his brothers and sisters.

He was speaking at the church in Montgomery where Martin Luther King was pastor from 1954 to 1960.

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit,” Bentley said. ”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 within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

Bentley stopped just short of calling for non-Christians to accept Jesus Christ.

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

Asked by The Birmingham News afterwards if his words were meant to insult other faiths, Bentley said, ”We’re not trying to insult anybody.”

That’s good.

However I much prefer the traditional trade-union use of “brother” and “sister.” (An old Polish worker once told a United Auto Workers official that when he worked at a Ford plant before it was unionized, “they called me ‘dumb Polack.’ But now with the UAW, they call me ‘brother.’ “)

And perhaps this will give Republicans who wonder why American Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic something to think about.