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​GOP Presidential Hopeful Bobby Jindal Calls Out “Large Corporations” for Opposing Religious Freedom

Gage Skidmore

Mark Stricherz - published on 04/24/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Louisiana governor stakes out position as defender of traditional marriage

At first blush, the results of a new ABC-Washington Post survey on public attitudes to gay marriage would not seem to offer encouraging news to a culturally conservative presidential hopeful. A record high 60 percent of Americans said they support “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally,” while only 35 percent said they were opposed. Yet Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote an op-ed in The New York Times today in which he called out “large corporations” for siding with gay-marriage supporters in the religious-freedom battles in Indiana and Arkansas.

If we, as conservatives, are to succeed in advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise, the business community must stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty. The left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. The fight against this misguided, government-dictating ideology is one fight, not two. Conservative leaders cannot sit idly by and allow large corporations to 
rip our coalition in half.

… Liberals have decided that if they can’t win at the ballot box, they will win in the boardroom. It’s a deliberate strategy. And it’s time for corporate America to make a decision.

Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all. This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters. This is the grand bargain that makes freedom’s defense possible.

Earlier in the op-ed, Jindal vowed to support legislation in Louisiana that broadens protections for religious liberty. In his words, “(t)he legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.”

By all accounts, Jindal is an observant Catholic. But he is also a GOP presidential contender in 2016. His decision to publicize his state proposal in a national newspaper reflects a political calculation:  He wants to become the standard bearer for religious liberty in the Republican presidential field.  Is Jindal misguided?

Two data points suggest he might not be. The same Washington Post-ABC survey that found record support for gay marriage also found that 6 in 10 Republicans oppose gay marriage; among conservative Republicans, who turn out at higher rates in GOP primaries, the figure rose to 7 in 10.

In addition, another recent poll found far less support for gay marriage. According to a survey by Suffolk University earlier this month, 51 percent said they backed same-sex marriage. 

Jindal may not win over corporations to the cause of religious freedom, but he has most Republicans on his side.

HomosexualityPoliticsReligious Freedom
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