Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library on Thursday night about what he called “The Silent War on Religious Liberty” being waged by the Obama administration.
“These days we think this diversity of belief is tolerated under our law and Constitution,” Jindal said. “But that’s wrong. This diversity of belief is the foundation of our law and Constitution. America does not sustain and create faith. Faith created and sustains America.”
This “Silent War,” Jindal contended, “threatens the fabric of our communities, the health of our public square, and the endurance of our constitutional governance. It is a war against the propositions in the Declaration of Independence. It is a war against the spirit that motivated abolitionism. It is a war against the faith that motivated the Civil Rights struggle…It is a war against America’s best self, at America’s best moments.”
“It is a war — a silent war — against religious liberty.”
The main front in this “silent war,” according to Jindal, involves “the freedom to exercise your religion in the way you run your business, large or small.” He cites the case of Hobby Lobby, which is “exercis[ing]” its religious freedom by refusing its employees health care and not stocking Hanukkah-related merchandise.
According to Jindal, “Hobby Lobby is nothing less than an all-American success story. The family owned company was launched in Oklahoma in 1970 with nothing more than a $600 loan and a workshop in a garage. Today they have 588 stores in 47 states. They have more than 13,000 full-time employees.”
Jindal’s “all-American success story,” which “retain[s] the guiding principles of their devout founders”, purchases its products from China, where forced abortions are still common. Still, Jindal claims that Hobby Lobby’s profession of religiosity doesn’t matter the Obama administration.
“The argument they have advanced, successfully thus far, is that a faithful business owner cannot operate under the assumption that they can use their moral principles to guide the way their place of business spends money,” Jindal said. “According to the administration’s legal arguments, the family that owns Hobby Lobby is not protected by the First Amendment’s ‘free exercise’ of religion clause.”
“Under the Obama regime, the president and his allies are intentional in pursuing these conflicts from the perspective that you must sacrifice your most sacred beliefs to government the instant you start a business,” Jindal claimed. “You have the protection of the First Amendment as an individual, you see — but the instant you start a business, you lose those protections.”
Jindal believes that the Constitution’s free exercise of religion clause gives people the right to discriminate against people whose lifestyles offend their religious sensibilities. “Consider the many cases against bakers, photographers, caterers and other wedding consultants who have religious beliefs, which prevent them from taking part in a same-sex ceremony,” he said. “The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in August that one small business, Elane Photography, had violated the state’s Human Rights Act by declining to photograph a same sex commitment ceremony.”
“This assault” on what he believes is the constitutionally protected right to discriminate “will only spread in the immediate future.”
In Baton Rouge, where Jindal lives, the Metro Council is currently attempting to enshrine anti-sodomy laws that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 2003. What was supposed to be a symbolic gesture in support of Representative Patricia Smith’s bill that would remove anti-sodomy laws from the books became a divisive issue when Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe said Democrats were trying to divide the city.
One Baton Rouge resident who spoke at the Metro Council meeting in favor of keeping the unconstitutional laws on the books asked, “Why don’t we just legalize drugs? I think we ought to legalize human trafficking next. Don’t confuse the rule of the majority for the rule of God.”
The resolution to support Rep. Smith’s bill to repeal the anti-sodomy law ultimately failed, 7-3.
["Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R)," via Wikimedia, Creative Commons licensed.]
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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