Republican Party

Reconsidering Republican Religion

by Lee Stranahan

This Washington Post article suggesting that Bobby Jindal is the Republican's answer to Obama has it exactly wrong. The piece makes it clear to me that Jindal is absolutely not the GOP's great non-white hope but instead another in the stable of non-electable Republican candidates. It suggests his strength is his appeal to the traditional religious base. It's true that Jindal is red meat to the Christian right wing base - no abortion ever never ever, creationism and so on - but what the Republicans need if they want to win in the future is a candidate who turns the GOP's notion of religion on its ear.

Consider Barack Obama. One of his big, radical changes was his entire approach to religion. From his 2004 convention speech talking about a 'mighty God' to the 'righteous wind' at the close of the campaign, he's done two things that seem contradictory at first glance - he wore his religion on his sleeve while at the same time seeming like a rational person. Both his faith and reason seemed united like a single perfect sphere. Barack Obama let the truth of love be lighted and let his love of truth shine clear.*

In short, Obama viewed religion in a way that was different from traditional Democrats and it helped bring new people to the big blue tent. A real 'Republican Obama' is going to have to do the same thing - bring a new, modern religious sensibility to the campaign without losing the base. It's a hard needle to thread but that's the challenge. Jindal doesn't come close to meeting it.

*Cyngus X-1, Book 2, Verse VI