Uncommon moral clarity from a politician

Bobby Jindal has an Op-Ed in The New York Times today defending religious liberty in the face of recent challenges. The main point of the article is indeed religious liberty, but the most remarkable paragraph in the article is this one:

I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman. Polls indicate that the American consensus is changing — but like many other believers, I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.

When is the last time you saw a politician with national aspirations willing to plant his flag so clearly with a religious minority? And yet that is exactly what Jindal has done. We are rapidly approaching the time when no politician will make such a bold public statement. It simply will not be feasible politically for them to do so, and so they won’t. We may already be at that time. For that reason, I respect all the more the moral clarity of Jindal’s words.

Yes, Jindal’s statement will please many social conservatives. But make no mistake. His national prospects just dimmed because he said this. He has to know this, and that is remarkable.

53 Responses to Uncommon moral clarity from a politician

  1. James Harold Thomas April 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    At my brother’s graduation from NLU, sorry, ULM, in 2001, Tim McGraw got an honorary doctorate, his wife, Faith was pregnant with their third child, and the keynote speaker was a young hotshot Louisiana politician named Bobby Jindal. The guy who introduced him raved about his accomplishments in the LA Dept of Health and as President of the University of Louisiana system. He told us to keep an eye on Jindal because he’s gonna go far. I rolled my eyes and said to myself, “yeah right”.

  2. Roy Fuller April 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    “uncommon moral clarity” or pandering – you decide! While Denny is correct in that Jindal’s position hurts him with regard to winning a national election, it only helps him with the social conservative wing of the GOP, and that is the group most politicians hoping to secure the GOP nomination for President must win over, or so they think.

    • ian Shaw April 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      But if the societal consensus is changing, his view will probably keep him from ever winning a presidency, which makes winning a GOP nomination moot.

      It’s just refreshing to here someone actually give their honest opinion. Which is why I also appreciate Ben Carson’s honesty as well (despite the fact he would never even get a GOP nomination).

      • Roy Fuller April 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

        And how do you know this is Jindal’s “honest opinion’? I don’t mean that as an attack on Jindal (or you). But really, how do you (or how does anybody) know this is his honest opinion? We all resonate with claims and statements which we happen to agree with, which is exactly what politicians (across the spectrum) count on.

        • ian Shaw April 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

          You’re right. Nobody knows if it’s what he actually thinks. Nobody actually knows if what you type in the comments is actually what you really think either and you could just be pandering for attention. But I have no reason to distrust what you’re typing here, do I?

          Jindal making that statement is political suicide (at least an attempt for the presidency). If the presidency was his career endgame, he just lost it. That’s why I can say I appreciate “honesty” as he just ruined any chance at all of winning a presidential election.

          • Kenneth Abbott April 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

            I agree with your assessment, Ian. Barring a significant change in the attitude of the national electorate, this was not a politically advantageous statement for Jindal to make.

            • buddyglass April 24, 2015 at 1:14 am #

              He’s a fringe candidate. He needs a way to be part of the conversation. Being the “religious liberty” candidate is one way to do that. Remember; at this point in the cycle he doesn’t care about anybody but dedicated Republican voters, because that’s who votes in primary elections. And while some in that group support same-sex marriage, the majority do not. The ones who do aren’t going to vote for Jindal anyway; they likely prefer one of the mainstream guys (or Paul). If he can corner the evangelical vote, however, Jindal greatly improves his standing relative to the other non-mainstream guys. Cruz, et. al.

              • Roy Fuller April 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

                buddyglass, you are exactly right. Jindal’s stand is more attributed to his need to stand out in a crowded field, and appeal to the easiest constituency among Republicans to appeal to, Christian conservatives. Those who feel this is bold misunderstand the political process, first one must get the nomination, and Jindal is positioning himself to do that. I may be wrong, but as others have noted above, thus far, he is merely expressing his personal preferences on SSM, not what we would advocate as an elected leader.

          • Chris Ryan April 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

            Jindal is betting that, at the end of the day, his opposition to SSM won’t cost him any votes he wasn’t going to lose anyways. He’s not trying to win political liberals, to win the presidency he need only win moderates. And its far from clear that opposition to SSM is a deal breaker for moderates. More often than not moderates will vote on economics. So this is a reasonable bet for Jindal (and the rest of his GOP competitors will no doubt make the same bet) so I don’t see anything terribly courageous here.

      • Lynn B. April 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

        ian: I initially was very impressed with Ben Carson but after researching him a bit I am afraid of some of his moral positions already on record from past speeches, such as the government needs to decide who receives end of life medical care and more.

  3. Chris Ryan April 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    Oh, Bobby Jindal is nothing if not deliberate–and ambitious. He’s just trying to resuscitate his appeal among evangelicals ahead of a Presidential run. He’s playing politics with people’s lives. And he should be ashamed.

    • ian Shaw April 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      And politicians of other parties don’t do the same thing? Just like Obama resuscitating his appeal among gays/lesbians when he changed his stance on SSM prior to the 2012 election?

      • James Stanton April 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

        I don’t think Obama changed his stance to resuscitate his appeal among the LGBT crowd. Who else were they going to vote for? Not Romney. He did it because, unlike 2004 when social conservatives were pushing state bans on gay marriage on the same ballot as Pres. Bush, the wedge issue became a net benefit for his party.

        I don’t have any issue with Jindal’s positioning. He’s trying to gain an edge in a crowded field when he has the lowest support of anyone running.

        • ian Shaw April 23, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

          He stated publicly in 2004, “”I’m a Christian, and so although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman,”

          In August 2008, he told Southern California megachurch Pastor Rick Warren his definition of marriage: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” He later added: “I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions.”

          In November 2008, he said much the same thing to a rather different audience: MTV. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.”

          May 9, 2012, “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

          5 months prior to re-election doesn’t seem “convenient”?

          • James Stanton April 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

            Re-read what you wrote, Ian. I know what his stance used to be. I disagree with you on why he changed it.

            “Just like Obama resuscitating his appeal among gays/lesbians when he changed his stance on SSM prior to the 2012 election?”

            Resuscitating appeal implies that he lost appeal amongst gays and lesbians. Of course it was convenient that he “evolved” 5 months prior to the election. Their polling showed it wouldn’t hurt them in the general election.

      • Chris Ryan April 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

        Oh, yes, pols of all stripes change positions, and I wouldn’t insult your intelligence by saying that Obama didn’t change his position on gay marriage. The difference is that Obama isn’t holding himself up as a moral exemplar, nor are we proclaiming him a beacon of moral clarity. Jindal is holding himself up as such, and yet has done nothing to help the millions of people in his state who lack health care, food, and shelter. ( Matthew 25:41-43 ) Faith without works is dead ( James 2:16-17 ). Jindal practices the worst kind of politics, twisting Christianity to support discrimination while ignoring Christianity when its in opposition to the fat cat policies he prefers.

    • Kenneth Abbott April 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

      And the factual basis for this statement is what? Or are you simply playing the cynic?

      Just so you know, I have no political opinion regarding Governor Jindal.

      • Chris Ryan April 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

        Well, if he was committed to Christianity he’d be doing things to help heal the sick, feed the hungry, and clothe the poor. Faith without works is dead. This is just a cheap stunt which requires no work at all.

  4. Christiane Smith April 23, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    Actually, DENNY, I can see no problem with his statement because he does seem to be speaking personally about his own view of marriage, while noting that it may one day be in the minority.

    Most American people have no problem with a politician who holds personal views, but does not seek to turn them into law to be imposed on other Americans who do not share those views. As a matter of fact, it is an American tradition to want every citizen to be able to decide for himself or herself on an issue of importance to them, insofar as it does not compromise the freedom of his neighbor to do the same also.

    Now if Jindal had said that, as a politician, he would pursue making his own beliefs the law of the land, then I think he would have a problem. But the quote did not indicate that or imply that. I have a feeling I don’t know everything that he said and he may have qualified his statement elsewhere, but I have not seen it, so I am thinking he is in the clear with the American public with his personal stand on principle. ( Americans never did cotton to those who always wanted to be on the popular side of an issue at the expense of their own beliefs. . . now THAT would have got Jindal into trouble with the general public, yes.)

  5. James Bradshaw April 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Jindal can believe what he likes, and I certainly wouldn’t hold it against him.

    There’s only an issue if he thinks his beliefs must determine public policy for those of us who disagree.

    I’m guessing being unable to legislate the personal relationships of others is also an infringement on religious liberty, somehow?

    • Kenneth Abbott April 23, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      If you were in a position to make public policy, would your legislative or regulatory beliefs determine policy for those who disagree?

      This is a fatuous argument. In any society there are always going to be people who disagree with those who make the rules, or at least some of the rules some of the time. Unless we’re ruled by autocrats, there should be give and take. If you don’t like the rules, work to change them, or practice civil disobedience and abide by the consequences.

      • James Bradshaw April 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

        Ken writes: “If you were in a position to make public policy, would your legislative or regulatory beliefs determine policy for those who disagree?”

        Not if they were intruding on the rights and freedoms of other individuals, no I wouldn’t.

        I obviously disagree vehemently with the tactics and beliefs of Westboro. I wouldn’t seek to silence them or restrict their freedoms, though, as distasteful as I find them to be.

        My approach is that the law exists to provide for the public safety, some basic public utilities and functions and attempt to protect individual liberties. That’s it.

        Let the churches and philosophers, with all of their diverse ideals and values, be free to voice those beliefs to influence the culture in a positive manner instead of using the law to try to punish those who aren’t a threat to others.

      • Christiane Smith April 23, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

        Might be better to honorably avoid ANY pretense of wanting a theocratic government . . . them what enacts a religiously-led government today may not like the laws of the religiously-led government that are made for them ten years from now . . . an established theocracy is not something this country can tolerate and still remain free, no
        BECAUSE in our DNA, we carry the genetic material of them what came to this country to escape the religious persecution of other theocracies . . . our country must remain free of religious coercion or the imposition of one religion’s morality on to those who are not of that religion. We are too diverse a nation to be theocratic.

  6. buddyglass April 23, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    “I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

    Isn’t that the view of pretty much every potential GOP nominee? Not sure Jindal is really much of a maverick here.

  7. EA Jervis April 23, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    With the cameras rolling and a reporter puts a microphone in front of him and asks him if he would ever accept an invitation to a gay wedding I wonder what his answer will be then?

    • James Bradshaw April 24, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      EA, the appropriate answer from any politician should be “None of your business”.

      Whether or not someone will attend the wedding of a close family member or friend does not guarantee how they’ll determine public policy either way. These are personal decisions.

  8. Dal Bailey April 23, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Reminds me when the media had the Republican hopefuls in a half circle and asked them this question: “What is, was or will be the greatest day of your life?”

    One hopeful said “The day I accepted Christ as my savior”

    I sat there thinking “I love the honesty, pity none of the voters will” He went down in flames anyway.

  9. Brian Sanders April 24, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    I know his name is bantered about as a potential candidate, but has he actually said he wants to run or intends to run for president in 2016?

  10. Jonathan Bee April 24, 2015 at 6:08 am #

    you know what would be brave

    a Christian politician standing against feminism… but hey that will never happen, and it would offend most Christians…

    to bad most christians do not understand that feminism is the prerequisite for gay rights…

    • Paul Reed April 24, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      Agreed, Jonathan Bee. Things like gay marriage & abortion would be unthinkable if feminism hadn’t have paved the way.

      • buddyglass April 24, 2015 at 8:26 am #

        Know when abortion first really got going in the United States? Late 19th century. Primarily among prostitutes. Safe to say the johns who patronized those women weren’t “feminists”.

        • Paul Reed April 26, 2015 at 9:27 am #

          Okay, maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. It doesn’t really matter if abortion started in traveling carnival freak shows. I’m interested in the question, “Today, why do women feel they need to have abortion “rights”? See my comment below.

          • buddyglass April 27, 2015 at 9:21 am #

            I think they feel the need to have abortion rights for the same reason they might always have wanted to have that right: they are disproportionately affected by the consequences of out-of-wedlock sex.

            My point in mentioning that stat was to show that abortion wasn’t “unthinkable” even before feminism common. Marvin Olasky is the source, btw, if you consider him trustworthy.

    • James Bradshaw April 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      What part of feminism in particular do you oppose, exactly?

      • Paul Reed April 26, 2015 at 9:23 am #

        A major component of feminism is for women to achieve equality with men in the workplace. An unplanned pregnancy hinders this greatly. For example, a girl who gets pregnant in high school or college and ends up having to take care of a baby is obviously going to have a hard time going to med school or otherwise fully pursuing her career plans. So the default position is for women to have as much control over their reproductive systems as possible. I always ask myself: Why is the other side so adamant about this “right”?

        • Jay Hall April 26, 2015 at 10:32 am #

          Women absolutely should have the right to achieve equality with men in the workplace. If everyone waited until marriage to have children, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Men and women alike could go to college, get their careers started, and then start their families when they were ready.

          Let’s also not forget that men also are culpable in abortion. There are many men who pressure their lovers to have abortions, whether it’s because they want to cover up an affair or simply because they don’t want to pay child support. It’s not like women are the only ones who have sought abortion. Feminism alone is not to blame.

          • Jonathan Bee April 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

            Except most of your career women do not want to be a wife or a mom, they want to be the man in relationships… Most level headed guys are not too keen on that ( aka not Christian men who are fooled into role reversal under the guise of sacrficial headship)
            Hence marriage is in decline…
            Also in most of human history people got married early, making them to to college and delay marriage is just making it harder for f them to not be promiscuous…

            Also it is the feminists championing abortion , thus is as obvious as the sky is blue, the sun rises everyday, etc…

            • Paul Reed April 27, 2015 at 9:07 am #

              “Also it is the feminists championing abortion”

              Yes, and in other news, summers have more day-light hours than winters. Wait. Hold on. What I meant to say was:

              “Really? How can you paint with such a broad brush? Because I know this web site run by such-and-such where the woman claims to be both pro-life and a feminist”

            • buddyglass April 27, 2015 at 9:24 am #

              My wife has a career. She also wants to be (and is) a wife and a mom.

            • Mike Norman April 28, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

              Jonathan: You realize of course that the “middle class” and “soccer moms” are a relatively new phenomenon. For most of history by far the majority of the world’s population was both poor and agrarian. Husband and wife and all but the smallest children worked sunup to sundown in order to feed the family.

              • Jonathan Bee April 28, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

                you do realise that even in agrarian societies women primarily did the child care and built the home ( look at your bible for an example”
                if they worked which most women did, they did that along with looking after the home,
                NOT what christians teach now
                men become excellent homemakers
                and women work…

                also in MOST ( some small unsuccessful ones reversed roles) Agrarian societies ultimate responsibility for provision was on the man ( heck the word HUSBAND is derived from that)

                and the man was seen as the head and ultimate decision maker…
                yes all worked
                but the responsibility was still on the man for provision, and woman for the home
                men and women were seen as different

                not he gender blending and reversing you teach in the name of the bible
                EVEN Jesus learn’t his dad’s trade not the homemaking his mom engaged in, if he was an advocate for role reversal surely he would have followed what Mary did…

                in our society we have reached an age of accomplishment where the wife does not have to work
                something historically seen as a privilege and a sign of successful man who provides well!
                by and large the current, send your wife to work, dump the kids in daycare or get the husband to enter a 50/50 marriage is just selfishness
                sin leads to confusion
                hence gay marriage

          • Jonathan Bee April 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

            Why should a man pay child support? If women are so independent and as capable as men , surely they do not need no man…
            The irony of equality… These ideas clearly show that feminism is about abusing /harassing and restricting men…

            No men and women should not have equality in the work place…. Some careers attract more men, some more women . Men should not be punished because of your stupid 50/50 equality ideas…

            • buddyglass April 27, 2015 at 9:27 am #

              Are you thick? Because the woman has to care for the child, for whom the man bears equal responsibility.

              “No men and women should not have equality in the work place…. Some careers attract more men, some more women.”

              Pretty sure he meant equality of opportunity, i.e. no hiring discrimination and equal pay for equal work.

              • Jonathan Bee April 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

                why can’t the man have equal rights to the child?
                Why should women be paid financial compensation for choosing to divorce ( most divorces are initiated by women)

                women can work, get promotions and jobs simply for being women…
                yet men have to suffer and get chucked in Jail even though they get laid off and cannot pay child support and alimony to some selfish woman all the christians sympathise with…

                sorry your anti male attitudes are not very christ like…

            • Brian Sanders April 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

              Jonathan: What is your real beef? You are on every website bantering hysterically about feminism in the most abstract of terms.

              • Jonathan Bee April 28, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

                meh, Enjoy your feminism, but do not claim to be against gay marriage on biblical grounds…

                it is like murderer who believes being a thief is wrong but being a murderer or serial killer is perfectly fine and must be encouraged…

  11. Curt Day April 24, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Why can what is said about Jindal not be said about those who both believe that marriage is between man and a woman and agree with marriage equality in society?

    • Johnny Mason April 24, 2015 at 8:15 am #

      Because the people who believe that have no moral clarity. Simple as that.

      • James Bradshaw April 25, 2015 at 7:41 am #

        So Johnny, would you say that a politician who favors legal divorce or contraception or the practice of ” idolatrous” faiths like Mormonism or Hinduism are also devoid of morals?

  12. Ken Temple April 27, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Bobby Jindal is right; good for him.

    Denny,
    How should Mike Pence have handled the aggressive “yes or no” questioning that George Stephanopolous did against him. (that you linked to earlier) I did not have time to make a comment then.

    I have not seen a good Biblical and conservative response to how he should have handled that.

    if only the left wing media would be that aggressive with Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

    James Bradshaw-
    The difference in the set of issues you bring up are not using the courts and media and government in forcing the rest of us to accept them as right.

    Mormons and Hindus have freedom of religion; some contraception is sinful (abortions), and some legal divorce is wrong, since “legal” means from a modern US standpoint of the no-fault divorce. But none of those freedoms are forcing the rest of us to agree with them.

    homosexual acts are always sin; and there is no such thing as “same sex marriage”; but they are free to do the sinful acts in their own homes and create contracts to give their inheritance, wills, etc.

    They (homosexual activists, the ones who took the bakers, florists, and photographers to court) are the ones who are bringing the force and approval of government into the bedroom and forcing the rest of us to have celebrate it and call it good.

    I think that is devoid of morals – the homosexual activists seem out for revenge for over 10,000 years of history and culture. homosexual acts and fantasies are always sin. (even heterosexual fantasies are sinful – Matthew 5:28-30).

    It seems the emphasis today is to get back and take revenge at the bullying and bad behavior of some. The church today can admit that cruelty and bullying is wrong; but that does not justify the gay agenda to overturn all of culture and civilization and history about what sin is and what marriage is.

  13. Nathan Cesal April 27, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Marriage equality IS religious freedom, marriage inequality is not.

    • Mike Norman April 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

      Nathan: The issue at hand is not marriage equality but the redefinition of marriage.

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