Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal is the latest hopeful to join the large crowd of 2016 Republican pool. Unfortunately, his heavily evangelical-influenced policies that come dangerously close to discarding the separation of church and state go strongly against the values of American Jewish voters.
Gov. Jindal, who studied biology at Brown and was considering Harvard Medical School before attending Oxford, has shied away from mainstream scientific understanding. As Mother Jones reported, he has promoted an education policy agenda that undermines mainstream scientific progress:
In 2008, he signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows public schools to challenge the science of evolution. Jindal framed it as a matter of giving local districts more control, but the effect was obvious: Thousands of high school students, especially in the state's Baptist and evangelical north, could be exposed to creationist teaching materials.
In 1995, while still a student at Oxford, he published an essay asserting that there was "much controversy over the fossil evidence for evolution," and he put himself squarely in the camp of intelligent design.
Gov. Jindal has made the spotlight for his views on religious identity and politics. At the start of this year, he addressed a crowd in London regarding his views on the Muslim community:
How does such evil rise again in democratic countries? I believe it is because radical Islamists have been given too wide a berth to establish their own nation within a nation. I am encouraged to see France's Prime Minister speak out against this travesty. In America we are quite happy to welcome freedom loving people, regardless of religion, who want to abide by our laws allowing for freedom of expression and a host of other democratic freedoms. But we will never allow for any sect of people to set up their own areas where they establish their own set of laws.
He also refused to retract a statement he made on CNN referring to certain areas in Europe as “no-go zones” due to influence from fundamentalist Muslims, and instead further explained his claim.
At last year’s commencement address at Liberty University, Gov. Jindal spoke on the “secular threat” our nation faced:
Make no mistake: the war over religious liberty is the war over free speech, and without the first there is no such thing as the second. Though this is not a battle any of us would have chosen, it’s one we’re called to join, and we should do so gladly, with our hearts and minds set on things above. Our religious liberty must in no way ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public. To the contrary, we must understand that our freedom of conscience protects all Americans of every persuasion — however those persuasions may evolve.
Regarding public opinion, Gov. Jindal is struggling to break the one percent mark in national polls. A CBS News poll indicates that more Republican voters prefer Gov. Jindal not run at all (20 percent) than favor his candidacy (14 percent). Even more telling, a recent Fox News poll shows Gov. Jindal wasn't just behind all of the other candidates; he was also behind "None of the Above," which got 2 percent.
Despite the numbers just mentioned, Gov. Jindal has his eyes on the White House. In an interview this week, he gave Reid Epstein of The Wall Street Journal a look into his campaign strategy:
"If we were to get into this race, it would have nothing to do with polls, fundraising, consulting," Jindal said. "I've won two landslide elections in Louisiana. ... Voters aren't going to commit until late in the process."
Perhaps if Gov. Jindal looked into polls or consulting, he'd find his stated policy views are completely antithetical to those of the American Jewish community. Gov. Jindal clearly would not stand for all Americans were he to serve as President, and his policies make it clear that he is unfit to do so.