Many of us, who have endured the frequent utterances of the Louisiana governor over the years have begun to ignore his statements altogether as not being worth the digital ones and zeros or the print upon which they have been written.
His latest comments are his defenses in the so-called, religious “The Response Louisiana”.
This event, in January, which is scheduled to be held at the Pete Maravich center on the LSU campus is said to the world according to Jindal--a prayer rally, only a prayer rally, and nothing but a prayer rally.
How about it being a political event?
More specifically, Jindal has recently said, "it's not a political event. It's a religious event."
And this again is a Jindal statement that we are supposed to accept as being the gospel.
My response? Poppycock. And frankly that is being kind.
Before my explaining this reaction, let me first say that I personally don’t care if the governor wants to pray on the LSU campus or not. I see nothing wrong with his holding a prayer rally just as I see nothing wrong for any religion to hold a rally. The Pope held a service on the UNO campus. If any religion and even anti-religious Satan worshipers wanted to to hold their rally, while I would find the latter distasteful, there is no issue. None.
If someone wants to pay the market rent and hold a rally a prayer or even anti-prayer, they surely have my blessings.
Unless the event were not unlawful, disruptive or dangerous, people, even governors, even presidential hopefuls, surely have the right to rent out this university facility for whatever legitimate purpose is requested.
Likewise, for those who want to protest this event, as long as they are doing so peacefully and within the University guidelines and rules, no problem.
Unquestionably, many of us feel disturbed that the Louisiana governor has a history of wanting to associate himself folks who believe that gays are sinners, even if they were born with that “sin”. And, many of us take issue with his defending and praising those who make ludicrous and hurtful statements about the history of African Americans in Louisiana.
If Gov. Jindal wants to be linked with those who believe that gays and pro-choice people are causing the state or country to be at risk of the Lord’s wrath and heavenly imposed natural disasters, that is his choice.
If he wants the country to believe (and for our kids to be taught in public schools) that the world is 5000 years old, that evolution is a myth, then let him knock himself out. While that type of politics may attract voters in the Iowa caucus, ultimately, much of the rest of America will simply view him as completely out of touch with modern science and reality.
If Jindal wants to believe that the country’s last hope is Jesus Christ, as he has stated in his event invitation, then certainly people of other religions, such as Hindus, Muslims, Jewish, Buddhist and might feel excluded or even threatened by this ethnocentric belief. They might wonder how his belief system will impact upon future policies. They might wonder whether his college incident of exorcism will be exercised should his finger be on the red button.
He, as well as anyone, has the right to hold a prayer rally on the state campus as long as they not getting special favors and as long as they are not trying to establish a state religion.
If Jindal, who is obviously making religion to be a political issue in his run for the Presidential rose garden, continues to refuse to answer legitimate questions about his beliefs, then, he will pay the price some time and surely on the campaign trail. We have a right to ask and he has an obligation to respond to questions about his personal belief system as it relates to public policy, just as any candidate would be obligated to so engage. His political dodges on the issues rather than his courageously standing up for those very personal beliefs has not gone unnoticed, nor will they, once he becomes candidate Jindal.
Only a few months ago, while discussing his energy plan, he ran away from simple questions when confronted by the Washington DC media. While claiming the administration were science deniers, he denied true responses to very basic questions.
Yesterday, when asked if he agreed with the American Family Association's agenda, according to the media, Jindal sidestepped that question and said, "The left likes to try to divide and attack Christians."
Assuming that he is correct that the left has it out for Christians, so what? That is irrelevant to the question asked. The issue is whether he agrees with their positions or not, an if so, which of those positions does he support?
At some point, as Jindal becomes a presidential candidate, he will be asked these questions and his own credibility and courage (or lack of it) in terms of standing up for his beliefs will become more of an issue or even more obvious.
So why do I believe that this event is indeed a religious event but also unquestionably a political one which he and the “Response Louisiana” organizers for some reason are refusing to admit?
Because the facts, as usual, tell us the opposite that Team Jindal and he wants us to believe:
We know the same folks held the same type of event for Texas Gov. Rick Perry before he launched his presidential campaign.
That fact alone is suggestive that the primary purpose is political but this alone, does not make the case.
So, let us look further.
Documents obtained by The Advocate through a public records request show that Rolfe McCollister, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors who also serves as treasurer of Jindal’s campaign committee, began inquiring about use of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a “Christian group meeting” in August.
“Working with the governor on this idea,” McCollister wrote to LSU event management director David A. Taylor on Aug. 18.
McCollister’s involvement in the early planning had not previously been disclosed. Jindal appointed McCollister, publisher of the Baton Rouge Business Report, to the LSU board in 2012…..
“Please express to Rolfe that we are making every effort to assist and we are willing to work with you as much as possible … but it just isn’t as easy as just picking out a date and moving forward,” Taylor wrote to McCollister’s assistant Tara Jeanise at her Business Report email address. “We rarely have concerts these days because of the difficulty with the competition schedule.”
Included in the email chain are Jindal political adviser Timmy Teepell, national Christian political consultant David Lane and LSU athletics facilities employees, among others.
Without doubt, others might feel compelled to save the world by praying at an event held at LSU as does Jindal and to invite the world to the “religious” reflections. If they join Jindal in those beliefs, no problem.
But, the fact that McCollister, a long-time Jindal crony and Jindal appointee to the LSU Board of Supervisors, is a point-man, is involved at such a high level, surely raises many questions. One, such inquiry is--why would the governor be using his political stroke with one of his key appointees to create a religious event, if the purpose was not political.
However, more than that is the presence of his top political consultant, strategist and political spokesperson, Timmy Teepell.
Teepell, is and has been Jindal’s political alter ego for roughly a decade. There appears to be no person as integrally involved in Jindal’s political past and future as Teepell. Rolfe McCollister and Timmy Teepell have been the inner core of Jindal’s political success. McCollister has not only been Jindal’s campaign treasurer but has served as the transition head and coordinator of his inauguration.
Teepell has been Jindal’s chief of staff as well as his campaign manager.
Also in the loop is the national Christian political consultant David Lane.
Jindal, event coordinators can point to other governors who might be holding a similar event as proof that they all are doing it for religious motives only, yet just the fact that the governors are putting their name and efforts behind any of these possible rallies simply begs the question.
We’re not talking about other personalities or even famous people such as actors and actresses at the top speakers and the faces behind the prayer rallies. We’re talking about governors and in this case Bobby Jindal along with his top political team mates.
Does Bobby Jindal want to proselytize his religion and beliefs to Louisiana and to Americans because he feels that the state and the country are at great risk and need to have the same faith and the same heavenly protections that only Jindal’s chosen God can provide?
Absolutely, he does. And, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do this, if in fact, those are the true and only motives.
It is very difficult to take religion out of a prayer rally.
It is also impossible to take politics out of a prayer rally being coordinated by top political operatives who have a history of supporting not only the key player but being in charge of an identical event and possibly future ones.
More than anything else, the issue is not prayer but credibility.
Jindal’s has an obsession with his becoming president of the United States. He is likely going to announce soon. Perry did after his own religious revival managed by the same top religious-political leaders in the country. Jindal’s top political advisers are at the helm. Jindal, more than any other possible candidate for President, has run on the religious-right platform. He has spoken often at major political events and in interviews in political publications about “the war on religion”, a “silent-war” on religious liberty, about President Obama’s war on religious liberty.
He has made religion and politics one of his major campaign planks.
Why he hides from the obvious says more about who he is than about who he wants people to think he is.
To suggest or to claim that politics plays no role in this rally is simply farcical and false.
Governor Bobby Jindal has a long history of defending his many actions by evasion or by simply spitting out responses that are design to swoon his base regardless of the logic or credibility’s of his utterances.
Most of America will soon realize this political practice.
Like many in Louisiana, they will lose faith in his very words. They will lose faith in the man he claims to be.