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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Given a chance to stand up for religious liberty, Bobby Jindal takes a pass

Raw Story - Bobby Jindal has no comment on Louisiana school that allegedly harassed Buddhist student
Raw Story: The administration of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday broke its silence over a public school that allegedly advised a Buddhist family to change their beliefs if they didn’t want their child to face harassment.

In a statement to The Times-Picayune, executive counsel Thomas Enright said the Jindal administration had no comment until both sides of the case were known. He also warned against the government restricting religious speech.

“Religious freedom is foundational to liberty in America,” Enright said. “In this case, the plaintiffs are alleging violations of the establishment clause not the free exercise clause. We don’t want to comment on this particular case before hearing the defendant’s side of the story, but as a general rule, government needs to be very careful before making decisions that restrict any American’s religious freedoms.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit against Negreet High School in Sabine Parish in January. A teacher at the school allegedly taught that the universe was created by God about 6,000 years ago. The same teacher is accused of calling 6th grade student “stupid” because he is a Buddhist and consequentially doesn’t believe in God.

When the parents of the students complained to Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb, they were allegedly advised to change their faith or relocate their son to another school with more Asian students.
Here’s the fun part: “The Times-Picayune noted the Jindal administration commented on the case just days after warning of a ‘silent war’ on religious freedom in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.” So Jindal’s not overly concerned about speaking out about other cases, just this one in particular. And even if he did have a reasonable excuse to not weigh in, it wouldn’t be at all out of bounds to add a “If these allegations are true” remark, which for all intents and purposes would be a discussion of a hypothetical.

But let’s be honest: Jindal’s “silent war” fairy tale isn’t about religious liberty. It’s about forcing non-Christians to abide by Christian doctrine — the opposite of religious freedom. It’s the same strategy as Fox News’ phony “War on Christmas” — it’s propaganda designed to force people who aren’t Christian to act like Christians, to foster a sense of victimhood among Christians, and to paint everyone but Republicans as the enemies of the faith. If Jindal really did believe in religious freedom, he’d be as passionate in defending the rights of Buddhists in a very real situation as he has been in defending Christians in totally made up ones.

For conservative Christians like Bobby Jindal, “religious freedom” means you’re free to choose any of the delightful assortment of many Christian denominations. When it comes to defending other faiths, the best you can hope for is “no comment.”

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