Jindal’s Counter-Offensive Against Gay-Loving Corporations

I’ve observed often here that Bobby Jindal’s decided he will be the premier Christian Right candidate for president in 2016, and will let no consideration of logic or common sense bar him from pandering aggressively to that constituency. But even I didn’t quite see this one coming, from a Jindal op-ed in the New York Times that aims squarely at corporate opposition to “religious liberty” legislation like the bill Bobby’s pushing for his star-crossed state:

Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?

That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all.

As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

I betcha more than a few Louisiana Republicans and chamber of commerce types muttered under their breaths upon reading these lines: Speak for yourself, Bobby.

Some corporations have already contacted me and asked me to oppose this law. I am certain that other companies, under pressure from radical liberals, will do the same. They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me.

So Jindal’s willing to sacrifice some convention business–kinda important to New Orleans, a gay-friendly, tourism-dependent city Bobby’s willing to completely betray–and maybe the kind of corporate “investment” decisions Republican governors normally think of as the sum total of “economic development” on the altar of his commitment to those who would carve out a separate little paradise for themselves where laws contradicting “biblical principles” as understood by cultural conservatives need not be acknowledged. But he’s implicitly going beyond that selfish cost-benefit calculation and threatening job-creators that they’re going to lose the support of The Faithful for their own interests if they consort with secular-socialists on the Christian Right’s agenda.

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….

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.

And if “corporate titans” don’t respect the “grand bargain,” then Bobby will see you in Hell, money-changers!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.