The Democratic candidate for attorney general in Alabama says he was joking to make a point.
State Republicans say he smeared all Christians who vote Republican -- and there are a plenty of those in Alabama.
The quotation in question, according to The Montgomery Advertiser
, came when Democratic AG nominee James Anderson spoke at the Sept. 14 luncheon meeting of the Cherokee County Democratic Club.
Anderson told the group:
"You have people who say, 'How in the world can you say you are a Christian and you are a Democrat?' Well I don't know how you can say you are a Christian and be a Republican."
Anderson, who faces Birmingham lawyer Luther Strange in the Nov. 2 general election, said Thursday he was being satirical as a way of saying people "shouldn't judge your faith by your party affiliation."
Alabama Republicans didn't find it funny.
"That's not a good subject to joke about," said Republican Party spokesman Philip Bryan.
Added state GOP chairman Mike Hubbard: "Alabamians hold their individual faith dear, and James Anderson has stooped to a new low to question the Christianity of all those who vote Republican."
Faith is an issue that drives Alabama politics, with candidates vying to see who can name the Ten Commandments or who reads the Bible more literally.