8. My brother’s brother
Occasionally, and I think often accidentally, our local newspaper, The Centre Daily Times, reminds me of why I subscribe. Today, they ran two pieces in the main section of the paper—one a news item and one an editorial, that were born to be together. On the editorial page Sarah Malone—covener of Interfaith Initiative Centre County—provides us with a brief history of religious freedom, and of the separation of church and state, dating back to William Penn, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee. She notes: “Every era of American history needs reminders that welcoming all faiths is part of our nation’s bedrock.” Bob Johnson, of the Associated Press, takes us to the swearing in of Alabama governor Robert Bentley and his speech after, at Martin Luther King’s church—the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Here, Governor Bentley got right to the point declaring, “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother…” The rest of the article goes on to deal with the local reaction and his subsequent apology for his remarks. Tomorrow, if we are very lucky, we might get a scientific poll—with error bands—on how people feel about the governor’s statement; or what might be termed a statistical approach to missing the point.
I think we owe a vote of thanks to Governor Bentley for clarifying the status of the separation of church and state in our contemporary United States—and, for doing so on Inauguration/MLK day in MLK’s church. It was truly a Glenn Beck moment, and perhaps—I’m crossing my fingers and, knocking on wood— we have at last found a Vice Presidential candidate worthy of, our national treasure, Sarah Palin.