From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Governor Bentley, who's your daddy?

Dexter Avenue King Baptist Church

Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama has an impressive official biography.  Not only is he an applauded doctor, a former Air Force captain, plus a Sunday-school teacher and deacon – but he is also a dedicated family member.  However, Bentley’s definition of “family” might differ sharply from the definition that is used by many of his recently-disgruntled constituents.

On Martin Luther King Day 2011, just hours after being sworn in as Alabama’s new governor, Bentley made a rather shocking announcement.  Standing before a big crowd at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church (which Dr. King once pastored) - and shortly after proclaiming that he intended to be the “color blind” governor of all people” (italics mine) – Bentley added:  …if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved…  it makes you and me brother and sister…

Perhaps realizing that he had just dug himself a political hole, Bentley went on to dig himself an even deeper theological one by attempting this off-the-cuff “exegesis” of his own prior remark:  Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters…

Although Governor Bentley has highly praised his biological father, David Harford Bentley, as having been a fine example of “All American” work ethics – this aforementioned use of the word “daddy” seems to go far beyond worldly ties.  That, in and of itself, is not incompatible with Christianity.  Even Jesus was prone to asking:  Who’s my mother, and who are my brothers?

However, Jesus used the term “Abba” (the Aramaic equivalent of Bentley’s term “daddy”)  in reference to God.  Without getting inextricably tangled up in creedal debates, suffice it to say that most Christians follow suit – in that they generally refer to God as “Father” (and to Jesus as “Son”) in everyday speech. 

Did Bentley therefore mean to imply that followers of other religions are not just as much God’s children as Christians are?  If so, it’s no wonder that his Jewish and Hindu “siblings” were vociferously opposed to these ill-advised remarks.


Copyright January 21, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment