Well, he was addressing a church crowd. It's not like he called a press conference and said, "I hate atheists". He was (according to the article) talking to a crowd in a church, and all I take his statement to mean, is that he's not going to be a Christian in word only but in practice, i.e. that he's conservative. I think mostly it was a dumb statement to say, and that the media was quick to jump onto it (as he should've realized).
Christians all the time refer to each other as 'brothers in Christ' - It was Jesus Himself who made that statement first.
The governor made a stupid statement, by trying to explain the negative. But I don't think his intended meaning was, "I hate atheists", more that, while speaking to people in a church, "I'm your brother in Christ, and I'll do my best to hold to Christian values in office".
My guess is, what his speech said (if he had one) was, "If the Holy Spirit lives in you that makes you my brothers and sisters." full pause, realizing that there might be non-Christians in the audience, "Anyone who has not accepted Jesus, I want to be your brothers and sisters, too,". Then trying to clarify, but digging himself deeper, "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,"</span>
Which is part of his beliefs. Everyone is his neighbor, and if you're saved, you're his brother. The only potentially offensive remark is, "you're not my brother", but I doubt he actually wrote that into his speech, and was trying to explain his previous statement but putting his foot in his mouth while doing so.
That's my guess at how it went, but I can't find a video of his speech, so I can't be sure.
Note this is not his inauguration speech. He gave his inauguration speech at the capitol. This is a speech he's giving to a bunch of people in a church, after he gave his inauguration speech. ("Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church after the official inaugural ceremony") The article tries to make it sound like this was his inauguration speech, even posting a picture of the inauguration speech next to the article, and emphasizing several times, "just moments after inauguration", "inauguration day", etc...
If I walked up to someone and said, "You're not my brother", they'd say, "duh". It's not offensive, it's an obvious statement of what is true. It only became offensive when people think he was intentionally trying to exclude people in his statement, when in reality, it seems to me that he was trying to say to a group of people that "I'll hold to our common values when in office", and "You're like family to me". Only in trying to qualify his statement did he switch from making a positive statement, to trying to explain the negative, and even then, he was saying, "but I want to be".
If that's what actually happened, then yeah, he has a case of "Kerry-itis". But all you're doing is filling in a large hole with an assumption and saying, "See it's not what you thought. It's not that bad."
If you went up to someone and said, "you're not my brother", most people would likely respond with "WTF?!" as opposed to "duh".
Plenty of politicians, laymen, and clergymen have expressed the concept of "brothers in Christ" without having to say "you're not my brother, you're not my sister." Also, I'm pretty sure and I could be wrong that church doctrine (at least my church) says that "we are all
children of God, in the eyes of God." So the bit that he said was really unnecessary and I personally don't think it was a Kerry moment or slip-of-the-tongue either.
(note: I don't want to make this a religious argument, so I'll make one rebuttal to whoever and continue this thread as a "First Amendment/WTF was that politician thinking?" thread.)