Jindal’s belief in exorcism should not be political fodder

Published 10:56 pm Saturday, August 11, 2012

Along with August humidity and the start of football is the kickoff of the political season, and one of the first politicos ensnared in this presidential election year is Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The media, liberals and many others are pummeling Jindal for a column he wrote nearly 20 years ago for The New Oxford Review, relating an experience that left him convinced of “the reality of spirits, angels and other related phenomena that I can neither touch or see.” Jindal basically wrote of the power of exorcism.

Now, with Jindal reportedly being one of the leading candidates to be presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, the column is coming under far more scrutiny than it deserves.

Jindal wrote the piece in 1994, when he was a recent graduate of Brown University, long before he launched a political career that has landed him in the national spotlight. Since then, Jindal has attempted to distance himself from the column, saying some of his young offerings of the written word were “goofy” and admitted to locking himself into a life of reading and writing while his peers were partying.

Whether one agrees or disagrees is irrelevant; the point is Jindal should be not judged for a piece he penned almost 20 years ago that said he witnessed an exorcism and believes in its power. Not only was it his personal belief, it’s also a tenet of the Catholic Church, of which he is a member.

Rather, Jindal’s political competence should be based on his record as a congressman and as a governor. Has the state progressed under Jindal? Has the quality of life improved for Louisiana citizens under his leadership and the advancement of his agenda, which has educational reform as the cornerstone?

Has he followed through on his commitment of economic development in a state that has long been a spectator and not an active participant in that arena?

Those are the questions that political pundits should be discussing, not the nattering of a young mind devoid of life experience. To judge otherwise is to do a disservice to the governor as well as to jade the election process.

Only Romney can decide if Jindal is a good fit as a running mate, and the American people will ultimately answer that question at the ballot box. At least Jindal deserves an honest evaluation based on his record in office. But even that seems improbable now that we are in the midst of the season of political fandango.