Alabama's newly sworn in governor is trying to calm the controversy he started on Monday when he said only Christians are his brothers and sisters.
"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," Gov. Robert Bentley said during his inaugural address.
Bentley also said Jesus is his role model for leadership. Some Jews, Muslims and atheists took offense at Bentley's remarks. They have questioned if he could be impartial in making decisions such as the awarding of government contracts.
The governor quickly apologized for his comments and met with local rabbis who said they were willing to give him a second chance.
"If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way," Bentley told reporters Wednesday after meeting with leaders of other faiths in his new office.
Rabbi Elliot L. Stevens of Temple Beth Or in Montgomery called the meeting with Bentley a positive step.
"I didn't believe he had coming into the meeting and I certainly do not believe now that there was any ill intent whatsoever in the remarks that he made," Stevens said.
"This has really turned out to be I believe a blessing for us as we move forward," Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Temple Emanu-EL said.