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June 30, 2014 9:34 AM Bobby & the Theocrats

By Ed Kilgore

If you are not aware that Bobby Jindal’s 2016 presidential campaign will likely be built on a foundation of hard-core Christian Right backing, you should read McKay Coppins’ article on the subject for Buzzfeed.

While much of the Republican Party has written off the conservative Christian movement as a shrinking niche to be appeased but not feared, Jindal is working deliberately to consolidate their support and position himself as the election-year champion of values voters — building relationships with evangelical power brokers, surrounding himself with veterans of Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign, and lacing his rhetoric with culture-war calls for religious freedom.
The strategy has begun to catch the attention of key figures on the Christian right.

Michael Farris, the founder of the evangelical Patrick Henry College and a champion of Christian home-schoolers — a key element of Iowa’s conservative base — said Jindal’s name is buzzing in activist circles.

“I think he’s a top-tier candidate and he’ll resonate a lot with that community,” Farris said, comparing him to Mike Huckabee, the minister-cum-candidate who remains one of the brightest stars on the religious right.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a longtime Jindal ally, praised him as one of the few prospective 2016 candidates with an unimpeachable record on social issues, and a personal life that exemplifies conservative religious values. As an example, Perkins noted that Jindal and his wife, Supriya, were the first couple in the country to enter into a “covenant marriage,” a special sort of legal union designed by Perkins in Louisiana when he was a state lawmaker that makes divorce more difficult.
“His foundation [is] really centered on his Christian faith,” Perkins said. “Talk is cheap, but the walk is where you find the worth of an individual. And he is walking.”
Perkins told BuzzFeed he is now informally advising Jindal on how to build grassroots support among the GOP’s religious voters, and he envisions a groundswell of support among activists if he decides to run. (The governor has said he will make a decision about 2016 after the midterms.)

So whichever way the Hobby Lobby case turns out today, you can expect to see Bobby Jindal on the tube deploring the secular socialist destruction of religious liberty wherein people have to fight to protect their right to discriminate against sodomites and feminists. Bobby’s really becoming the champion of dispossessed theocrats rebranded as victims of persecution.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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