Bobby Jindal touts religious liberty, limited government, national unity in declaring candidacy for president

by Kim Pennington, National Correspondent |
Republican 2016 presidential candidate Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18, 2015. | REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BATON ROUGE, La. (Christian Examiner) -- At a rally near New Orleans Wednesday evening, Jindal, a Roman Catholic, made religious liberty a key point of his speech, setting his views apart from those of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton whom he called President Obama's "apprentice-in-waiting."

"I know that some believe that I talk too much about my faith. But I will not be silenced in order to meet their expectations of political correctness," said Jindal forcefully.

"They don't accept the idea that you can be both intellectual and Christian. They can't fathom the notion that you can be both smart and conservative. But they need to get out more. There's a big country out here with millions of Americans who believe in God and are not ashamed to say so," he continued. "I would be wary of a president who didn't seek wisdom from the Almighty."

"Christianity is under assault today in America. But the liberals have forgotten their history. Religious liberty is not some quaint notion from the past. It is fundamental to our freedom. That's why it is protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution," he said.

"I'm going to say this slowly so that even Hillary Clinton can understand this," the governor continued. "America did not create religious liberty; religious liberty created the United States of America."

Jindal also touted his gubernatorial record – cutting the budget by 26 percent and cutting the number of "government bureaucrats by more than 30,000" which he claims demonstrates his ability to be a person of action and to decrease the size of government.

"There are a lot of great talkers running for President already. But none of them, not one, can match our record of actually shrinking the size of government. We've had enough of talkers. It's time for a doer. I'm not running for president to be somebody. I'm running for president to do something," he said.

Jindal, 44, represented Louisiana in the United States House of Representatives from 2004-2008 and became Louisiana's first non-white governor in 2008. Describing his first term as governor, Jindal said:

"It was the aftermath of Katrina, our economy was locked in a downward spiral, our biggest city was reeling, and for 25 straight years more people had left this state than had moved into it. Louisiana was in big trouble. So we had to make big changes.

"Today, we have more people moving into Louisiana than out of it, our highest population in history. Our kids are coming home.

"And now we have more people working than at any time in our state's history, with the highest incomes in our state's history. A job for your family and a paycheck in your mailbox are the ultimate proof your state is doing things right."

Regarding foreign policy and social issues, Jindal told the crowd, "Every Republican will say they will fight to protect the unborn, repeal Obamacare, secure the border, and destroy ISIS. I won't simply talk about these things, I will do these things."

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge to immigrants from India. Describing his parents' move to America, he said, "They weren't really coming to a geographical place, they were coming to an idea . . . and that idea is America.

"To them, America represented all that was good in the world where you could get ahead if you worked hard and played by the rules — a place where what matters is the content of your character, not the color of your skin, the zip code you were born in, or your family's last name."

Despite his Indian ethnicity, Jindal denounced division among Americans spawned by politicians.

"Hillary Clinton is already trying to divide us by ethnicity, by gender, and by economic status. As for me, I'm sick and tired of people dividing Americans, and I'm done with all this talk about hyphenated Americans. We are not Indian-Americans, Irish–Americans, African–Americans, rich Americans, or poor Americans – we are all Americans," Jindal said

He concluded his speech by summarizing his four goals if elected:

  1. "I will secure our borders;
  2. "I will replace Obamacare with a health care system that focuses on reducing costs and restoring freedom;
  3. "I will grow the private sector economy by shrinking the size, scope, and reach of the federal government; and
  4. "I will rebuild America's defenses and restore our standing on the world stage."

Projecting what America could like with his leadership, Jindal optimistically said what he is not.

"If you are looking for a candidate who will politely manage America's descent into mediocrity, I'm not your man. But . . . if you are chasing a dream and looking for a land where the people are free, and the opportunities are real, I'm asking you to believe," Jindal said.