BIRMINGHAM (Jennifer Davis Rash) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley remains an active Baptist despite conflicting media reports on his church status.
Bentley, a former deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, joined First Baptist Church, Prattville, in October 2015.
Travis Coleman, pastor of First, Prattville, confirmed Bentley is a member and regular attender of the church.
Bentley and his now ex-wife, Diane, began occasionally attending First, Prattville, after he was elected governor in 2010. He then joined the church after their divorce was finalized in late September 2015.
Gil McKee, pastor of First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, also cleared up “an apparent misconception among the media” about the relationship of First, Tuscaloosa, with Bentley.
“Gov. Bentley’s departure from the congregation was his own decision and not the result of a reported ‘expulsion’ on the part of the church,” McKee said.
Bentley continues to face questions about his ability to lead the state after a recording of inappropriate comments he made to a female staff member three years ago were released March 23.
During remarks at an April 4 media event at Limestone Correctional Facility, Bentley said he is asking “the people of this state to forgive me because they are a forgiving people and they know God’s grace.”
A news video by al.com shows Bentley’s full two-and-a-half-minute comments on the issue.
“I’ve asked God to forgive me because that’s the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me,” Bentley said. “I own it. I did it. I point no fingers to anybody else. I make no excuses from that. I own my problem. It’s not your problem. You have other problems. It’s not your problem. It’s my problem and I have to deal with that.
“And so I have humbly opened myself up to the people of this state and I have asked them to forgive me,” he said. “And let me continue to do the things they elected me for twice and that’s to try to make their lives better.”
Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, filed articles of impeachment against Bentley on April 5. An investigative committee will be established to assess the articles of impeachment. The timeframe for the process was unclear at press time.