Having been raised Southern Baptist, I understand the lunacy that can grip fundamentalist from the South. It could be something in the water, but more likely, it’s a sad byproduct of primordial inbreeding and an aversion to any new idea that came after the Baptist split over slave ownership at the beginning of the Civil War (hence the Northern Baptists and Southern Baptist denominations). Southern Baptists are a strange lot simply by definition, however, there are few fundamentalist more loony than a Louisiana fundamentalist.
Take the case of Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal. Speaking last weekend at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference, Jindal was rearing skyward on his high horse when he made rather interesting, if not somewhat inflammatory, statements as reported in the Huffington Post. The online news site reported Jindal stated:
“. . . President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital.”
On one hand, Americans are used to such inflammatory rhetoric coming out of the mouths of people like Jindal. The one over-arching theme of the Republican Party over the last eight years is to bash Obama on any topic that pops into their small minded, little conservative minds. This is the wacko Republican Party faithful at their most basic core. Religious liberty and education, however, are fairly innocuous terms without any real power behind them, so what’s the big deal. Leave it to Bobby J to elucidate.
“I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States,” Jindal said, “where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”
Statements like this are made for a reason, especially when politicians are facing a crowded convention hall full of fundamentalist wingnuts whose modus operandi is based on a belief system that is straight out of the Iron Age. Words like these are spoken to “incite” the base. Stir up the blood. Get the people to thinking. In a case involving the United States government as these do, they are also very close to seditious language.
Jindal follows up those remarks stating:
“. . . there was a “silent war” on religious liberty being fought in the U.S. — a country that he said was built on that liberty.”
Not so much Bobby J. Here, like religious zealots have been doing for years, he his conflating the first two parts of the First Amendment (Prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion . . .). This country was not built on religious liberty per se. The Constitution protects the “free exercise of religion” but doesn’t imply or maintain that religion is anything but a personal matter that the Constitution protects as a right of individuals to pursue at their own discretion. The First Amendment does not make religion an integral part of the government mandate or give religions any special place in the government, no matter how much fundamentalists would like it to be so.
Then there was this mini-tantrum as reported in the Huffington Post article:
“Earlier this week, Jindal signed an executive order to block the use of tests tied to Common Core education standards in his state, a position favored by tea party supporters and conservatives. He said he would continue to fight against the administration’s attempts to implement Common Core.
“The federal government has no role, no right and no place dictating standards in our local schools across these 50 states of the United States of America,” Jindal said.”
Really? Currently, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) (no shrinking violet when it comes to conservative issues), Louisiana ranks forty-ninth out of fifty-one states (including the District of Columbia). In fact, the bottom four states are all Southern states that just so happen to be fundamentalist strongholds (odd fact, no?). In a state as noted for corruption as it is for shrimp gumbo, one wonders just how low Louisiana would drop into the education cesspool where it now resides near the bottom if education standards were left up to state official oversight. Given their head without Federal guidelines, the vistas of mediocrity are endless.
In an attempt to be fair and balanced, Jindal also made this comment:
“I am tired of the left. They say they’re for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them,” he said. “The left is trying to silence us and I’m tired of it, I won’t take it anymore.”
Hmm . . . since tolerance and diversity are certainly not a long suit of either fundamentalist Christians or the Republican Party, this sounds a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. As far as tolerance and diversity goes, one need only examine his party’s stance on women’s rights, the immigration issue, the minimum wage, gay marriage, funding for education, voters’ rights, and well, just about everything they stand for in this day and age. The line, “They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them” is especially egregious. If liberals agree with you on everything, they would be fundamentalist, conservative Christian Republicans. Think about it Boggy J. It’s politics. You don’t get a free pass simply because you want one. LOL
Expect to hear more from Bobby J in the future. People of his fundamentalist ilk see threats and conspiracy everywhere. Throw in some Jesus talk and a bit of readin’, rightin’ and ‘rithmetic, and they are in for the long haul.