BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized to anyone who was offended with his inaugural day comments that non-Christians were not his “brothers and sisters.”
Bentley met for an hour with members of Alabama’s Jewish community on Wednesday (Jan. 19), and afterward told reporters he meant no insult with his words.

“What I would like to do is apologize. Should anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised, I want to say, `I’m sorry.’ If you’re not a person who can say you are sorry, you’re not a very good leader,” Bentley said.

Bentley made his controversial comments after his inauguration Monday when he spoke at the Montgomery Baptist Church where Martin Luther King was once pastor.

Bentley, in his comments at the church, said other Christians were his “brothers and sisters” and non-believers were not, although he wanted them to be.

Bentley said he was speaking in the language of his evangelical faith to other Baptists. The governor said he will never deny his beliefs, but regretted if he offended anyone.

“I do have core beliefs, I will die with those core beliefs,” he said.

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