Governor Bobby Jindal is more than a practicing Catholic—he is a man who will not change his “faith-driven view” of marriage, even if other public officials are willing to do so. Nor should he. His statement today on behalf of marriage (properly understood) and conscience rights is superb. He is both a defender of religious liberty and an opponent of unjust discrimination.
Jindal is going to pursue legislation that would insulate individuals and institutions from government coercion on the subject of marriage. To be exact, he would allow them to exercise their deeply held religious convictions on the institution of marriage with impunity. Nothing he is proposing would create a new right to discriminate: gays and lesbians would live as freely as they do now. What would change is the authority of the government to invoke sanctions against those who hold to the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage, and who do not want to affirm alternatives to it.
Perhaps the boldest, and most refreshing, part of Jindal’s essay is his willingness to publicly chastise corporations: from Wal-Mart to Wall Street they have jumped on board the gay-marriage bandwagon, thus aligning themselves with the traditional enemies of religious liberty.
The problem with many Republicans, and some conservatives, is that they are only committed to Two “M’s”: markets and missiles. To be sure, a market economy is vastly superior to socialism, and a strong national defense is critical to the maintenance of a free society. But there is a Third “M” that is also indispensable: morality. A free society depends as much on the virtue of its citizens as it does any factor.
Governor Jindal embraces the Three “M’s.” He gets it. Hopefully he will inspire others to get it as well.