Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, came out very recently to defend his choice to headline at an event for hate group American Family Association. This group has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because, among other reasons (including holding anti-Muslim and openly racist positions), they hold an anti-LGBTQ position.
Jindal, a Hindu-born-turned-Catholic conservative, said, at the end of his prayer service with AFA, “our god wins”, slighting anyone that, perhaps, is not Catholic, let alone Christian. His comment appears to be aimed at atheists and other secular groups that fight against public officials and government run institutions sponsoring religiously affiliated projects or actions. Jindal stated “It’s a time-honored tradition going back to our nation’s founders…” Jindal, however, does not seem to understand how hypocritical his statement is, given his ethnicity, and even his faith.
As Dr. David Sehat documents in his book the Myth of American Religious Freedom,Jindal’s ethnicity, alone, would keep him out of public office. So, for him to state “I think this idea of praying to God for wisdom and guidance is as old as our country”, and also to note that it was something Washington did, seems absurd. Washington also had slaves. That was a time-honored tradition for him, and even the people during Lincoln’s time (whom he also references in the same breath). So, perhaps , by Jindal’s reasoning, we should return to that tradition. And, in light of Jindal’s conversion to Catholicism, so did many of the slaves that were brought into the United States. However, they were not considered equal, as Sehat points out. Even George Washington Carver had to plead for equality; stating that people of color had learned the language of whites and converted to their religion. As Sehat demonstrates, they were considered “half-heathens”, which was the closest people of color came to being equal in the 19th and early 20th century.
Jindal also states “My faith teaches me that…marriage is between a man and a woman.” Jindal, clearly aligning with a more modern sense of Catholicism and what the Vatican teaches on homosexuality, obviously does not know what the Bible says on the matter. While he may be thinking of passages like Leviticus 18:22, which actually is a statement that, as most of Leviticus 18 discusses, is in reference to the Israelites distancing themselves from the Canaanites (verse 24 actually says “…for by all these practices the nations [Canaanites; the people that occupied the land prior to the Israelites] I am casting out before you have defiled themselves.”). Even still, with each reference to any sort of homosexual act (and there is quite a few we can find), there is no prohibition of same-sex marriage. His views may not be based “on the polls”, but let’s hope Jindal can actually read a history book, or the Bible itself.
Otherwise, how are we to take the comments from someone who has received an endorsement from the NRA, opposes abortion and even opposes attempts to transport women to receive abortions out of state, and even supports science teachers substituting evolutionary science lessons for Intelligent Design curriculum? I think we need to take history into account, and even, perhaps, Jindal’s own holy text, and take every word he says with a grain of salt. Or we should just accept Jindal refuses to let go of archaic concepts and accept progress in a country that needs it desperately.
Update 2/2/2015: This article originally held that the AFA was listed as a hate group solely based on their position with the LGBTQ community. User HematitePersuasion has helped to correct this error and correct the article.