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Jindal's campaign counters attack on his faith
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | August 27, 2007 09:35 IST
The gubernatorial campaign of Indian-American Congressman Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal, Louisiana Republican, has been writing to his supporters to take action to stop the attacks by the Louisiana Democratic Party against his faith.
Jindal's campaign denounced television ads by the Louisiana party that have accused Jindal of being 'anti-Protestant.'
Timmy Teepell, Jindal's campaign manager has sent an e-mail to Jindal's supporters and contributors urging them to sign an online petition that the campaign had created on Jindal's website, calling on the Louisiana Democratic Party and their political operatives to abandon their plans to attack Bobby's Christian Faith.
It said the distasteful attacks must be met with hard resistance from all people of Faith, and exhorted the e-mail to be forwarded to friends, family, church, and anyone else who may be willing to join the resistance against this war on Faith.
In another e-mail, Teepell said: "The Democratic Party of Louisiana has attacked Bobby Jindal for his decision to publicly profess his faith, and is lying about his writings to try and divide the faith community."
He wrote that Jindal, who converted from Hinduism to Christianity in high school, has never been shy or vague about his belief that Jesus Christ died for all and rose again for save us for our sins. He has given his testimony before hundreds of congregations and groups and he has put his faith in writing, the mail said.
Although Jindal is a covert to Christianity, his parents Amar and Raj Jindal are devout Hindus and pillars of the Hindu community in Baton, Rouge, Louisiana, and Amar Jindal is one of the founding members of the Hindu Temple in Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.
Teepell in his missive complained that the the Democrats reference one article written when Bobby was a young Christian, and then blatantly misinterpret his beliefs.
He wrote that the ad falsely alleges that Bobby has referred to Protestant religions as 'scandalous,' 'depraved,' 'selfish,' and heretical' and it goes to falsely state that 'Bobby Jindal doubts the morals and questions the beliefs of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, and other Protestant religions'.
Teepell said that nothing could be further from the truth, and argued: 'Anyone who takes the time to read the article Bobby wrote as a student will see the profession of faith by a young Christian who was seeking, in his words, to follow Jesus wherever He heads.'
Teepell said: 'Our state has seen plenty of low-down political tricks but attacking a born-again Christian for his public testimony is beyond the pale,' and bemoaned, 'In a time when the outside world wants to impose purely secular standards on the rest of us, we cannot allow a man's Christian faith to be misrepresented and misused to divide Believers in this state.'
Stuart Rothenburg, author of the Rothenburg Political Report, which tracks presidential, Congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, wrote that since polls have shown Jindal with a large lead in the race, which will take place in October, with a November runoff to follow if no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, "the ads are an obvious attempt to destroy Jindal in Protestant North Louisiana, a generally conservative part of the state where he underperformed four years ago, when he narrowly lost his last bid to Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat.
Blanco has decided to not seek re-election, widely believed because she is so unpopular after she was pilloried for her poor performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Rothenburg predicted that "Republicans are certain to charge that it is Democrats who are interjecting religion into the campaign."
But he acknowledged that "for Democrats willing to play with fire, the decision to run the ad may have been an easy one," because Jindal "appears headed for victory, so anything that could disrupt the campaign and peel votes away from the Republican can only improve the Louisiana Democratic Party's chances of forcing a runoff."