“Bobby is a Christian”

Before my Republican friends tear their rotator cuffs trying to pat themselves on the back for being sooooooo tolerant in running Bobby Jindal for governor of Louisiana, let’s remember that that toleration always has its limits: Jindal’s phonebanks are pushing three talking points, of which one is “Bobby is a Christian.”

That’s true: he converted from Hinduism in college, having changed his name to “Bobby” from “Piyush” in grade school. So he’s no longer what Gen. Boykin (and many other Christians, and for that matter Jews) would call an “idol worshiper.”

But it’s curious, to say the least, how unashamed he is of stressing that fact, in the face of the Constitutional mandate that “no religous test” be imposed on office-seekers. If Bobby were not a Christian — if instead he had remained faithful to the religion of Gandhi and Tagore — would that make him less qualified to be the Governor of Louisiana? Does he think it appropriate to treat his Hindu relatives as second-class citizens, by stressing his acquired religion as if it were relevant to the office he seeks?

No doubt the liberal media are pounding him with such questions. Just proves how intolerant they are of evangelical Christianity.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com