“On Jan. 17, 2011, I put my left hand on the Holy Bible in Montgomery and promised to honor and protect anyone’s right to worship as they choose,” Bentley said. “As governor, I have to defend that right.”
Bentley said it’s hard for him to separate his personal beliefs. He accepted Jesus Christ as the savior of his life when he was nine years old and believed he should give his life to Christ.
“I was a good kid,” Bentley said. “I had wonderful parents that loved and supported me.”
When he came to UA, he did not know whether to major in aeronautical engineering or become a physician, so he prayed about it. He said he was driving in Columbiana and stopped at a red light when a feeling overcame him that he should go into medicine and has never regretted that decision.
“God opened those doors,” he said. “He allowed me take care of people and care about people.”
Bentley said he knows God is always in control of his life. He said he likes to live his life in a way that glorifies God.
“It’s how you live your life that’s important,” Bentley said.
He said the book of James talks about integrity, and integrity is wholeness. The worst thing you can do, he said, is to claim to be a Christian and not live it.
“Walk like you talk,” Bentley said.
Bentley also said he should not have been governor. When the race started, he was not expecting to win according to votes. He said it was a difficult time, and he prayed constantly. He had to use some of his retirement money because people would not give him money for his campaign.
“God put us in the position that we are in,” Bentley said. “I truly believe that I have been put here as governor of the state of Alabama at this time.”
Bentley won the gubernatorial election with about 60 percent of the state votes.
Bentley said he has three steps that he uses to approach situations everyday. First, always be in control of yourself. Second, make concise decisions, something he prays about everyday. Third, do things with passion in any place at any time.
“If you don’t care about people, you’re not going to be a very good leader,” Bentley said.
Bentley told the crowd to live by faith every day, and said that their faith in God would lead their lives in the right direction. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” he said, quoting the book of Hebrews.
He said he truly loves the people of this state. If they know he loves them, they will vote for him again.
“As the governor, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Bentley said. “As a Christian, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Gordon Maples, president of Alabama Atheists and Agnostics, said he was not surprised Bentley spoke at the University.
“I do wish he would acknowledge the large community of non-theists in the state of Alabama, but he typically doesn’t do it,” he said. “He rides the line as far as whether he is using this position to directly insert his religious belief.
“He’s definitely riding a very fine line. There’s no problem in someone who holds a public office to talk about their personal belief as long as it doesn’t become part of his position or try to enforce those beliefs on his constituents.”