From a presidential library in California, Gov. Bobby Jindal accused the Obama administration of aiming attacks on religious freedom at conservative Christians.
Jindal warned an audience at Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library of a silent war on religious liberty.
He rolled out examples that drew in a craft store chain, a Michigan school and Louisiana’s own “Duck Dynasty” family.
“This war on religious liberty — on your freedom to exercise your religion, on your freedom to associate, on your freedom of expression — is only going to continue. It is going to continue because of an idea, a wrongheaded concept, which President Obama apparently believes: That religious freedom means you have the freedom to worship, and that’s all,” the governor said, according to a transcript of his speech.
It was a speech written to trigger headlines, and it came just days after Obama spoke about religious freedom at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. While in California, the governor also planned to tend to his Washington, D.C., nonprofit group, America Next, which is widely seen as the first concrete indication that he plans to seek the Republican presidential nomination.
His wife, Supriya, sat next to Lod Cook, a Louisiana-born financier, during the speech.
Jindal delivered a lengthy speech on religious liberty.
The overarching theme was to paint the Obama administration as an enemy to those who oppose abortion and legalizing gay marriage.
The governor described himself as an evangelical Catholic with Hindu parents. “These days we think this diversity of belief is tolerated under our law and Constitution. But that’s wrong. This diversity of belief is the foundation of our law and Constitution,” he said, according to prepared remarks released by his press office.
A vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, Jindal tackled Hobby Lobby’s legal battle. Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green, oppose a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires them to offer contraceptive coverage.
They oppose the morning-after pill as akin to abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the case.
The governor accused the Obama administration of trying to prevent faithful business owners like the Greens from using their moral principles to guide their business expenses.
“Keep in mind that the Greens weren’t arguing that so-called morning-after pills should be illegal, or banned, or doing anything to prevent their employees from paying the small cost of such pills. They just had a serious moral problem with paying for something they viewed as inherently against their deeply held beliefs,” he said.
Jindal accelerated over to an already decided case involving a Lutheran academy in Michigan. The school went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court over its right to refuse to retain a chronically ill teacher. Here, Jindal glossed over some facts.
At issue in the case was whether the teacher could win on anti-discrimination grounds involving her disability. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that a ministerial exception exempted the school from the argument made under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Jindal accused the Obama administration of advancing a legally absurd position. The case actually was initiated when President George W. Bush still was in the White House.
Once the governor’s remarks hit the Internet, the Democratic National Committee quickly fired back by picking apart his arguments.
“Tonight, Bobby Jindal will speak at the Reagan Library, and will embrace President Reagan as a model for the Republican Party. He has even called the former President his ‘political inspiration.’ But the truth is Jindal’s far right and out of touch Republican Party would have no place for someone like Ronald Reagan,” said Michael Czin, national press secretary for the Democratic National Party.
Czin said Jindal’s positions do not square with Reagan’s stances on gun control, abortion and immigration.