By Robert Mann
Imagine this scene at Louisiana’s Governor’s Mansion: “OK, governor, you sit there at the head of the table. Mrs. Jindal, please sit to his right. Wait, let’s get better light on her. Joe, can we get some powder on the governor’s forehead to fix that shine? Now, young man, when your dad bows his head be sure to hold his hand. Don’t look out the window for turtles. Jane, where’s the prop food? We need those green beans, pronto!
“All set? OK, governor, let’s do this. Lights, camera, pray!”
Of course, I don’t know if Gov. Bobby Jindal’s new spot running in Iowa was produced exactly that way (and for you fact-checkers, yes, I know it was created and aired by his “independent” super PAC, “Believe Again,” but it’s essentially his spot).
What we know is that Jindal’s campaign allowed a film crew into the mansion and staged a pre-dinner prayer with his children. Most likely, his staff then posted the raw video on YouTube so that his super PAC could use it in the spot. Voila! No federal campaign rules against coordination were violated since anyone who happened across the public-domain video was free to use it.
It just so happens that “Believe Again” knew where to find this video. Then, the super PAC invited Jindal to speak at one of its events in Iowa. There, Jindal bragged about his Christian faith. “I wasn’t born a Christian,” he says in the spot. “Took me seven long years to convert at the age of 16.
“I’m unashamed,” Jindal continues. “I’m unembarrassed to tell you that I am a Christian.” My, what a fearless statement to make to an evangelical group in Iowa. Give the man a Bronze Star for the courage to boast about his faith to a room filled with Christians!
Jindal was not finished. The spot turns ominous. “Christian values are under assault right here in America,” Jindal warns, as the audience no doubt glances nervously at the door, waiting for President Barack Obama’s jackbooted thugs to bust up their meeting and haul them off to jail.
Be of good cheer, however, for Jindal had reassuring news: “America’s history is filled with times of spiritual revival right after the hour seemed darkest. Well, the hour seems pretty dark to me right now. We’ve exhausted every alternative. It is time to turn back to God.”
This spot is disturbing, offensive and sacrilegious in several ways.
First, to the uninitiated, when Jindal speaks of America’s “dark” hour, he is not talking about our nation’s sinful tolerance of poverty and racism, our troubling propensity for war or our systematic fouling of God’s earth. He’s talking, instead, about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that he and his frightened disciples believe will prevent them from using their religion as a cloak for anti-gay discrimination. The dog whistle Jindal toots is unambiguous to those tuned to his frequency: The freedom to practice your homophobic bigotry in God’s name is under attack.
Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.