As willing as I am to offer up criticism of Bush and the other 2016 candidates, I also think it is worth praising them when they are willing to take a position that is unpopular in the current cultural zeitgeist of the Circle of Jerks in the press corps. One of those issues is religious liberty. Another is free expression.
In the past seventy-two hours, Jeb Bush has stood up for both. He has given a forceful defense of free expression regarding the events of Garland, TX. He put his “yes” and his “but” in the right places. Yes, he would have done it differently than Pamela Geller, but free expression must be defended even when it offends.
But more importantly, Bush gave the commencement address at Liberty University on Saturday and strongly defended religious liberty in the United States. He denounced the idea that our faith should not guide us. He defended the right of Christians to live their lives in the public square. And he attacked the present administration for demanding “obedience, in complete disregard for religious conscience.”
For a candidate who conservatives often attack for courting the left/media, it is refreshing to hear Bush go so against the grain of Circle of Jerk values and defend basic American values and freedoms.
I would leave it at that, except the one candidate who has come out most forcefully on this issue was speaking concurrent to Bush down in South Carolina. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been the loudest and most consistent voice of the 2016 candidates on the issue of religious liberty. At the forum in South Carolina, many of the candidates, including [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ], defended religious liberty. Cruz, in fact, referenced the situation in Indiana. But Jindal hit it out of the park forcefully on the issue.
I focus on Jindal here, and not the other candidates, because Jindal has been talking about this issue with little fanfare for over a year. Jindal, a Christian convert, understands what the ability to practice your faith means. He understands the burdens of conversion and defense of faith better than most any candidate.
Echoing what a number of conservatives, including me, have been saying, Jindal noted that the Obama Administration defines “freedom of religion” as going to church on Sunday and that is it. Jindal argues for the traditional meaning of the phrase and makes clear he will defend it.
The other candidates should take notice of both Bush and Jindal’s rhetoric on the issue. It is compelling and it just so happens that most Americans agree with them.