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This is the Best We Could Produce?

And by “we,” I mean brown people.

Jindal

Piyush “Bobby” Jindal is the new governor of Louisiana. He’s the first Indian governor in America’s history. While it’s great to see anyone break so many racial barriers, especially in the South, it’s unfortunate that Jindal could become the most prominent Indian-American in the country.

Just like Mark Foley with gay people, Alberto Gonzales with Latinos, and Alan Keyes with African-Americans, Bobby Jindal doesn’t represent most Indians.

Not me, anyway.

He’s the anomaly, not the norm.

It’s not just that he’s Republican — many Indians are (for some odd reason…) — but he holds several beliefs that just mystify me.

From The New York Times:

A born-again Roman Catholic, Mr. Jindal made a particular campaign target of these areas, visiting them frequently and bringing his brand of devout Christianity to their rural churches. His social-conservative message — teaching “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution in public schools, a total ban on abortion, repealing hate-crimes laws — would have been welcome in these areas.

He also once wrote about a friend who was possessed by the devil.

He voted against allowing embryonic stem cell research.

What’s sad is that he is so well-educated. Yet, he holds positions that require such irrational thinking.

A little more detail on his Intelligent Design position:

It comes from a gubernatorial debate that took place on September 27th of this year:

Baton Rouge Advocate columnist Carl Redman: “What about intelligent design? And the issue really is, it’s not what’s on the books, but if this comes up again. Because this state has wrestled with creationism and spent a lot of time and resources. I was covering the legislature for a couple years when they wrestled with the abortion issue. It could come back at any time. What the governor does is very critical [in those fields?].”

Jindal [nodding]: “Sure, and let’s talk about intelligent design. I’m a biology major. That’s my degree. The reality is there are a lot of things that we don’t understand. There’s no theory in science that could explain how, contrary to the laws of entropy, you could create order out of chaos. There’s no scientific theory that explains how you can create organic life out of inorganic matter. I think we owe it to our children to teach them the best possible modern scientific facts and theories. Teach them what different theories are out there for the things that aren’t answerable by science, that aren’t answered by science. Let them decide for themselves. I don’t think we should be scared to do that. Personally, it certainly makes sense to me that when you look at creation, you would believe in a creator. Let’s not be afraid to teach our kids the very best science.”

Of all the representatives we could’ve had as Indians, this is the best we could do?

There are Indians who disagree with his politics but still cheer his victory.

I’m not sure what there is to cheer about. An Indian may have become governor, but how much damage will he do in his new role?


[tags]atheist, atheism, desi[/tags]

  • Mriana

    So we have yet another looney-toons politician in the Bible Belt? Oh that’s just great! :roll: Well, hopefully he’s not as bad as Blunt and his relative Boy Blunt, but from how that reads, he might just be just as bad. :(

  • Karen

    The sad thing is that the only way a brown person could even get elected in places like this is if they hold these kinds of abhorrent and ignorant views. :-(

  • grazatt

    I thought Born-Again was a protestant thing, not a Catholic thing! Can someone please explain?

  • globalizati

    I may be wrong on this, but don’t the majority of Indian Americans affiliate with the Republican party? I’m not sure if or where I read that data, but it would be interesting to find out.

  • Jack

    Don’t blame me, I voted libertarian.

    PS: You might get called a racist for calling him by his real name.
    PPS: I think repealing hate-crime laws is at least debatable. I don’t think the other things you mentioned are.

  • http://brokenspells.blogspot.com/ Yenald Looshi

    Larry Echohawk was almost the first Indian governor (of Idaho) in the 1990s, though some say it was William Walker of Nebraska in the 1850s. But being a member of the Huran tribe doesn’t necessarily mean you’re Indian.

    Oh. You meant real Indians, not the natives miss-named by Columbus.

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    I bet it’s a lot easier to get organic life out of organic matter than out of inorganic matter. Luckily, the solar system is a carbon-rich place …

    I particularly liked this quote from the New York Times article:

    “The fact that he’s of Indian ancestry is a subject of jubilation,” said Vijay Prashad, professor of South Asian history at Trinity College in Hartford, speaking of the way Mr. Jindal has been portrayed in the Indian-American press. “But there’s a very shallow appreciation of who he really is. Once you scratch the surface, it’s really unpleasant.”

  • Pingback: Is Bobby Jindal the Indian Alan Keyes? « Pop Culture

  • Polly

    I’m not sure what the big deal is. I don’t see his views as too far out of the norm for his neck of the woods. And, he’s not too far off this atheist’s radar screen (excluding religious stuff), either from what’s listed.

    I hate hate-crime laws.

    I don’t want a total ban on abortion, but I do favor limiting the procedure to “hardship” cases: health risks, rape, incest, etc (which makes up less than 10% of total abortions).
    I’m VERY wary of embryonic stem cell research, too.

    Of course, ID “theory” is proof that the human race is too stupid to have been designed. (I’m sure some will say the same about my thinking)

  • Stephen

    Personally, it certainly makes sense to me that when you look at creation, you would believe in a creator. Let’s not be afraid to teach our kids the very best science.

    Funny, those two sentences don’t seem related.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike C

    Personally, it certainly makes sense to me that when you look at creation, you would believe in a creator. Let’s not be afraid to teach our kids the very best science.

    Funny, those two sentences don’t seem related.

    I think the idea is that the more we study legitimate science (and I personally wouldn’t consider ID legitimate science), the more it will actually lead one to a belief in God. Of course that is not true for all people, but I have found it to be true of myself.

  • Polly

    @Mike C,

    I can sympathize with the study of true science leading to a belief in A god. For a long time, I found evolution unpalatable. I had to study all about the structure of proteins and their formation from the encoding DNA. (I was a biochemistry major in college at first) It was inconceivable to me that all this complexity could have arisen “by chance” even knowing that it’s not “chance” in the usual sense of the word. Nevertheless, it’s still undirected…and it’s totally counterintuitive.
    I still have some cognitive dissonance about it, frankly. But, the evidence is there and it’s far less than the trouble I’d have convincing myself that there’s anyone looking after us. At most, I could believe there’s an indifferent inventor-god out there who cares nothing for us. But, then that really wouldn’t be faith as much as just god-of-the-gaps philosophizing, for me.

  • Mriana

    Yes, but I think that god concept science would lead to, if it did, would be a god of nature, not the traditional God concept (the Zeus-like old man sitting in the sky watching our every move, judging us, and ready to throw a lightening bolt at us the moment we screw up.)

    I can fully comprehend a god of nature and can very well understand how science would lead to that, but not to the traditional God concept.

  • ash

    Polly,

    I don’t want a total ban on abortion, but I do favor limiting the procedure to “hardship” cases: health risks, rape, incest, etc (which makes up less than 10% of total abortions).

    until contraception becomes 100% effective, this would also be an argument for complete abstinence (even within marriage) unless the sex was purely for reproductive reasons. or an argument for homosexuality being the only legitimate framework for sex as a purely leisure activity. i realise this sounds pissy, but as 1) i’m a straight female, 2) i never want kids and 3) i know contraception isn’t 100% – your views would condemn me to a completely sexless life. thanx, but no.

  • Polly

    @ash,

    I don’t know how much more effective aborting each time contraception fails is relative to undergoing a more definite birth control method in advance, e.g. vasectomy, tubal ligation.

  • Mriana

    Not even tubal ligation is 100%. There are instances where women have gotten pregnant even after having their tubes tied. A vasectomy isn’t necessarily 100% either.

  • Anatoly

    Hemant ’08, break the stereotype! I think it would be great, at least then we’d have a politician who actually knows something about biology.

  • Polly

    @Mriana,

    One-tenth of one percent failure rate for either procedure; somehwat worse, if the man doesn’t wait a few months after surgery.

    I suppose if the couple really wanted to be absolutely certain, they could have both, the vasectomy AND the tubal ligation.
    This would have to be a very risk-averse couple, indeed! We routinely risk our lives on worse odds.
    I don’t know what the statistics are on abortion risks.

  • Mriana

    Actually, what is 100% without a doubt is what I call human spading. My mother had a fibroid uterus when I was 12 and had a partial historictomy. She had no use for birth control after that.

  • Kate

    Hemant ‘08, break the stereotype! I think it would be great, at least then we’d have a politician who actually knows something about biology.

    I was going to say the same thing!!! Come on Hemant, governor! :)

  • ash

    ok, life of abstinence or major (and possibly unnecessary) surgery, complete with all attached problems (ie cost, risk during, possible complications after, likelihood of early osteoporosis etc). i’m not liking my options here. perhaps, if i would otherwise be forced to carry a child to term, i should be able to insist on mandatory removal of the testicles of any current or potential partner at any time?

    i love the ability of facetiousness to make a dull point interesting…

  • Mriana

    Ash, I wasn’t suggesting that humans get spaded or neutered just to prevent surgery. I was just saying it would without a doubt be 100%. However, it was a neccessary surgery for my mother.

  • Darryl

    I think that god concept science would lead to, if it did, would be a god of nature, not the traditional God concept

    Good point Mriana. I’ve raised this point with Mike C. myself. There is a gap between the impersonal god of nature and the personal God of the Bible, for example. Theistic arguments, and that’s what this is, pertain only to the former. No less a great theologian and thinker than Albert Schweitzer found this distinction necessary in the development of his theology. For him, the ethically random and pointless destruction, suffering, and death of the natural world is irreconcilable with the loving God of Christianity.

  • Mriana

    Yes and if you get down to it, this is what Spong’s god is. You can see this just by listening to him, reading his books, his talk about science, and then his use of the Hebrew word “ruach” or wind. He’s not talking about a personal anthropomorphic god, but rather an impersonal one that is part of nature. He is very humanistic with his homilies too, but his use of the word god is non-realism, which is also seen with Cupitt and others in the Sea of Faith. Cupitt calls it “Love” also, which is another form of the god of nature from what I can tell, for love come natural to most humans.

    Even I used both secular and non-realism ideas when I wrote a paper last week about the word ‘numinous’. Then as a little added touch I went used a god of nature via the Gospel of Thomas sayings 3 and 77. None of it involved the use of the traditional God concept and I intentionally avoided that concept to make a point about the word ‘numinous’. These so called “religious” words I truly believe can be redefined in a manner that is not traditionally religious and I also believe that is where science will lead a lot of people in the future. We will have to redefine these words eventually or form a new vocabulary entirely.

  • http://aaahfooey.blogspot.com jp

    Hemant,

    check out the uncritical ovations this man gets in the Indian media:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bobby_Jindals_win_Village_joy_doubles_on_Dussehra/articleshow/2479464.cms

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Readerspeak_Bobby_Jindal_has_made_us_proud/articleshow/2478355.cms

    I’d rather think of you as a better role model for desis abroad. At least you’re reality-based.

    cheers

  • Becky Robinson

    @ Polly:

    As a woman who does not want children, I have spoken to several doctors about getting my tubes tied. They all said I had to be 35 or already have two kids. It’s not such a simple solution, as it would seem. I’m sure I could find some sketchy doctor to do it while I am in my 20′s, but . . .


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