Remember when Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal warned Republicans about being the “stupid party“? As we’ve know by now, that seems to have been more of a “do as I say” moment since Jindal’s own actions haven’t lived up to the rebranding he was going for.
On Tuesday, Jindal and conservative talk show host Steve Deace were discussing whether or not the political climate had progressed to a point where it was “too late” for America. Based on their experience at the Iowa “Pastors and Pews” event, they didn’t think they were there yet.
There was still hope, Deace felt, because he had seen so many attendees who were “anxious to fight as long as a general… arises to sort of lead the way.”
Jindal agreed, although he said, “the stakes are high, and it’s bigger than we realize.” How so? Well, along with the national debt, he warned of the “dangers” of the Affordable Care Act and EPA regulations. But there was something even scarier to the governor than clean air or healthcare access for the poor. Much scarier.
You see, the true monster lurking in the closet of presidential misdeeds is…
… a trend in this country toward secularization, a trend where religious liberty is at stake. That is the reason this country was founded. This is a fundamental question. Without religious liberty there is no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of association, it is worse than this president is bankrupting our country financially, morally, as well as our foreign policy standing. All of that is true but it’s worse than that. He’s trying to change the idea of America.
You know, we have had presidents that were incompetent like Jimmy Carter — we have never before had a president this ideologically extreme, who does not believe in American exceptionalism, does not believe in the American dream that you and I were taught, does not believe in religious liberty and has effectively, for six years, done everything he could to change our culture on all three of those areas to become a new country, a new American dream, a new conception of liberty.
The good news is there are patriots, there are believers, there are regular Americans out there who say “that’s not the country we inherited from our parents, that’s not the country we’re going to leave to our children.”
Much of this is just a rehashing of conservative talking points: Real Americans know that Obama is incompetent, wants to change America, isn’t a patriot, and probably eats kittens for breakfast. That a sitting governor would publicly espouse such rabid partisan nonsense says a lot about the state of politics today, but what’s really interesting is the incredible fear of secularism.
While Jindal is wrong about this being a new trend or a product of modern culture (give that credit to the Founding Fathers), he repeats a commonly held position among the Religious Right that secularism is the destruction of religious liberties.
Secular government is the cornerstone of true religious liberty. It protects the minority as well as the majority. What Jindal worries might be eroded isn’t liberty. It’s the ability to curtail other people’s liberties in accordance with a particular religious belief. From gay marriage to contraception, the rallying cry of “religious liberty” isn’t about protecting the religious person’s right to hate contraception or marry a person of the opposite gender… it’s about what the religious person sees as his or her right to stop someone else from engaging in behavior not sanctioned by religious belief.
If Jindal is truly curious about the real threat to religious liberty in this country, he should look to “the stupid party,” and all those people like him who think that their beliefs trump others’ rights. Those are the people actively, aggressively trying to tear down the wall of separation that protects both the religious and irreligious.