Governor says he’s a Christian, media, activists outraged

Occasionally, some public figure will say something perfectly in line with traditional Christianity, and the forces of “tolerance” in America, in the media, professional grievance groups, bloggers, etc, will react in horror and outrage. By so doing, they merely display their own ignorance and prejudice.

The latest example, from the AP, via Yahoo News:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians.

“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,” Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.

Christians routinely refer to each other as brothers and sisters. That’s essentially all Governor Bentley said, it’s basically a tautology. Any journalist really should have some basic understanding of the subject he’s covering before writing an article on that subject. What’s offensive is for these crackpots to attack the governor simply for expressing his faith. There’s nothing at all offensive about any American expressing his faith, or wishing for others to join his faith.

But the reaction from advocates of “diversity” and “tolerance” was swift. From ABC News:

“We live in a country that is hugely diverse,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, the country’s oldest atheist civil rights group. “The governor basically said: ‘If you’re not like me, you’re second class.’ This is a man puts the Bible above the Constitution and his preacher above the president. His words are disgusting and bigoted and reinforce Alabama’s reputation for being backward and bigoted.”

The governor said no such thing. Mr. Silverman is merely projecting his own bigotry. If you object to Christians stating the basic tenets of their faith in public, then you do not in fact favor diversity or tolerance. And calling the group a “civil rights group” while they’re objecting to an American exercising his First Amendment free exercise rights was an especially nice touch.

Similarly, an activist with the Anti-Defamation League weighed in with some defamation:

A spokesman for the Anti Defamation League said the governor’s comments were “stunning” and “distressing” and were tantamount to proselytizing.

“It is stunning to me that he’d make those remarks. It’s distressing because of the suggestion that he feels that people who aren’t Christian are not entitled to love and respect,” said Bill Nigut, the ADL’s regional director.

“On the day that he is sworn in as governor, he’s sending a statement to the public saying if you’re not Christian you can’t be with me. From our point of view that is proselytizing for Christianity and coming very close to a violation of the First Amendment.”

But Governor Bentley didn’t say anything to suggest that non-Christians aren’t entitled to love or respect. Again, Mr. Nigut is projecting his own prejudice onto the governor. Being pro- your own group in no sense suggests hostility to other groups. Would Mr. Nigut accept the premise that if he said he was a proud Jew or expressed a special affinity for fellow Jews, that was anti-Christian, or anti-Muslim, or anti-anything? The idea is absurd, as is the ridiculous and somewhat Orwellian notion that an exercise of free expression violates the First Amendment.

More at RedState, well said.

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