Bobby Jindal’s Special Pleading

Bobby Jindal’s Special Pleading July 1, 2015

Remember a few years ago when a local official in Louisiana refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple? That was the one where the guy said he wasn’t racist because he lets black people use his bathroom. Guess what Bobby Jindal said about that situation?

The actions of a justice of the peace in Louisiana who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple have prompted some top officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, to call for his dismissal.

Jindal said the state judiciary committee should review the incident in which Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

“This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … Disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said.

Yes, that local official must lose their job and their authority to issue marriage licenses! It’s outrages that he would engage in such discrimination and pick and choose which citizens he would allow to avail themselves of the equal application of the law! But now that it involves gay people:

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has said Louisiana court clerks and other state employees who don’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of religious objections won’t have to do so.

Jindal’s office has said the governor’s religious freedom executive order as well as state and federal law will protect clerks and state employees who have moral objections to gay marriage and don’t feel comfortable handing out licenses to same-sex couples.

“We believe the U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Constitution, Louisiana’s Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, as well as our Executive Order prevents government from compelling individuals to violate sincerely held religious beliefs. We will continue to fight to protect religious liberty,” said Mike Reed, spokesman for the governor’s office.

So one form of discrimination is absolutely terrible, while another is not only fine but must be given legal protection. And it can’t be for the reason he states; after all, there are lots and lots of Christians whose religious beliefs include racism and opposition to interracial marriage. But apparently when Bobby Jindal says that the government must protect people from having to violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” what he really means is “sincerely held religious beliefs that I agree with.”

There’s a reason for this special pleading, of course, and it has nothing to do with principle. If he were to be consistent, Jindal would only have two choices. He could take the position that no government officials can refuse to do their jobs if and when they have a religious objection to doing so, in which case he can’t pander to all that fear of Christian persecution he’s been pushing. Or he can take the position that all government officials can refuse to do their jobs if it violates their religious beliefs and then he’s stuck having to defend allowing the government to discriminate on the basis of race, which is opposed by the overwhelming majority of people, even in Louisiana. So he chooses instead to be a hypocrite.

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