Clearly, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal thinks God matters and says so in political venues. Some find this to be negative.
Nick Gillespie is a Libertarian and he’s unhappy about something that Bobby Jindal said. He claims that Jindal wants to “mix religion and politics.” Why? Because of what he said to “a group of Christian and Jewish leaders in Iowa.”
“The reality is I’m here today because I genuinely, sincerely, passionately believe that America’s in desperate need of a spiritual revival,” Jindal, who is weighing a presidential bid, said during a 37-minute-long speech followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session.
“I love to quote Winston Churchill. … ‘You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they’ve exhausted every alternative,’ ” Jindal said.
“That’s where we are as a country,” he continued. “We have tried everything and now it is time to turn back to God.”
Jindal is a professing Christian, a Roman Catholic. Since he converted from the Hinduism of his parents, we can expect that he is somewhat self-conscious about his faith. I think that there is a bit of truth in Gillespie’s impassioned plea because I’m not sure what good it does to use language that is completely strange to many potential voters. Jindal can be a faithful Christian and still use language that is understandable to a majority of Americans.
And when he does so, he needs to bring up the name of Jesus. Talking to a group of Christian and Jews together about “God” is inherently misleading. There is no God but the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus and Paul were clear that to reject Jesus meant to reject God. Using God outside of an orthodox Trinitarian framework invites confusion and deception.
Gillespie, being a secular Libertarian, has an entirely different objection.
No, it’s not time to “turn back to God,” especially when it comes to politics and public policy. What ails the government is not a deficit of religiosity but a nearly complete failure to deal with practical issues of spending versus revenue, creating a simple and fair tax system, reforming entitlements, and getting real about the limits of America’s ability to control every corner of the globe. God has nothing to do with any of that. The fault lies not in our stars but in policies.
Nice rhetorical finish, but it is nonsense. Spending versus revenue is about one’s willingness to defraud the public, loot them, and put burdens (or rather: economic disaster) on future people (probably our future selves, at this point). The Bible is full of prohibitions on such avaricious behavior. It says that anyone who engages in such behaviore is demonstrating they have a problem believing that God will hold them accountable.
Likewise, the tax system, entitlements, and the lust for world rule are all things that God has everything to do with.
Gillespie, as a secularist, simply assumes that such ethical norms have some kind of basic existence, while the question of God is secondary and debatable. But many religious believers find that view ridiculous (with good reason, in my opinion). Gillespie ends up basically demanding that all religious believers pretend to be secularists like him in public. In his world, whether one believes in God is akin to whether one collects stamps or fly fancy kites. It is merely a hobby.
What is funny about Gillespie’s attitude is that he gives us evidence that God has much to do with politics in his own post saying the opposite. His entire post, after all, is about Bobby Jindal.
And notice how he describes Jindal’s character in office:
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) has proven to be one of the most effective and incorruptible legislators that the Bayou State has had. Unlike a long line of pols from Louisiana, he is neither a demagogue, a racist, nor simply a criminal willing to take bribes and cut shady deals for his pals. A few years back, he pissed off Republicans by rightly insisting that the GOP stop being “the stupid party” when it came to policy debates.
He’s worked hard to help reform school finance in a way that accelerates not just choice for students and parents but better results too; he’s privatized and contracted-out many states services at great savings; and he’s pushed for common-sense policies such as making birth control available without a prescription.
So this guy just happens to be a devout Catholic?
Notice that half of the things that Gillespie describes are not merely an ability “to deal with practical issues” but a reflection of Jindal’s moral character and ethical commitments.
Whether you agree with all his policies or not, Gillespie is describing someone who acts, as a politician, like someone who believes he will be called to give an account of his behavior to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Gillespie obviously believes that Jindal stands out as a unique kind of politician. I think he should consider whether God, whether Jesus, might have something to do with his unique stance.