Bobby Jindal on Religion
Bobby Jindal is under attack in the Louisiana governor’s race for some articles he wrote on religion (apparently before he entered politics). You can find links to the articles here (although you’ll have to pay to read the entire articles). According to the descriptions on the site, which appears to be affiliated with Jindal’s political opponents, Jindal says that non-Catholics are burdened with “utterly depraved minds”
and calls individuals who ignore the teachings of the Catholic church
Here’s Kos’s take on the controversy. I don’t have much to say about this, or about Jindal in general, but I thought dotCommonweal readers might find it interesting.
UPDATE: Here’s the “depraved minds” passage, with context:
Yet Christ would not have demanded unity without providing the
necessary leadership to maintain it. The same Catholic Church which
infallibly determined the canon of the Bible must be trusted to
interpret her handiwork; the alternative is to trust individual
Christians, burdened with, as Calvin termed it, their “utterly
depraved” minds, to overcome their tendency to rationalize, their
selfish desires, and other effects of original sin. The choice is
between Catholicism’s authoritative Magisterium and subjective
interpretation which leads to anarchy and heresy.
I think it’s fair to say that Jindal’s critics are distorting his meaning. He does not seem to be saying that non-Catholics are somehow uniquely depraved, but rather that human beings in general are so depraved that they need the Church’s authority to reach the truth. I don’t agree with his theology, but I don’t think he is saying what his opponents are accusing him of saying.
UPDATE II: As the passage above makes clear, I think the substance of this attack ad has been pretty clearly discredited. This certainly does not reflect well on the integrity of Jindal’s opponents running the ad. What’s more interesting to me, though, is that Kos continues to flog this horse. Here’s his latest take, in which he seems to be defending the veracity of the ad. (FWIW, here’s a diary from another member of the DailyKos community taking on Kos’s support for the attack.) I don’t know much about Jindal’s politics, although I assume we don’t have much in common in that regard. (My main familiarity with him comes through my wife, who is Indian. Jindal is something of a celebrity in the Indian-American community for the completely improbable nature of his political rise in Louisiana.) But, whatever the merits of his political views, I don’t see how anyone with an ounce of integrity can defend the substance of these ads.
Another interesting angle here is the article in which Jindal takes a relatively moderate tone towards Hinduism, his former religion. The web site to which I linked above (which, again, seems to be run by his opponents) highlights that article along with the misrepresented summary of his article on protestantism. That confused me, but then I remembered that among some extremely conservative Protestants, Hinduism is a bit of a boogeyman. So Jindal’s opponents seem to be playing on that and trying to tar him — in ads that, as Kos says, are running mainly in the northern, Protestant part of the state — as intolerant of Protestantism and, at the same time, as too tolerant of Hinduism. Pretty ugly, hypocritical stuff.
UPDATE III: In response to some of the comments below and a few email I’ve recieved, I want to emphasize that I’m not saying that I share Jindal’s positions. I’m just saying that the substance of his views are not those attributed to him in the attack ads. The ads are therefore dishonest, and, I believe, knowingly so. The fact that there might be things that are questionable about Jindal’s views does not make the ads any less dishonest.