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Cast Out Them Demons, Ah Gar-on-tee

Okay, some weird stuff happens in Louisiana, and it was happening even before Hurricane Katrina and the heckuva job done by “Brownie” over at FEMA.

Take Bobby Jindal, the current Republican Governor (I stole the photo from Talking Points Memo, referenced below).  At age 36, he has already been president of the state University system, a Congressman, Governor, and now is supposedly on John McCain’s short list to be a candidate for VP.  As an Indian-American, all of this might seem somewhat unlikely, especially in the American south, not always known for its hospitality to immigrants (note that he is a natural-born citizen of the US), but Jindal impresses everyone who meets him or hears him speak.  Oh, yeah, and in his spare time he does the occasional exorcism.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Jindal himself wrote an article in 1994 in The New Oxford Review http://www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?did=1294-jindal  (unfortunately the article is not available for free) in which he provides the details.  This Rhodes scholar who had already been accepted to Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, talks about how he cast out a demon from a close female friend and may have even cured her cancer.  Luckily for us cheapskates, Talking Points Memo has excerpted some of the better quotes from behind the firewall:

The students, led by Susan’s sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, “Satan, I command you to leave this woman.” Others exhorted all “demons to leave in the name of Christ.” It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults.

Follow the link for more http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/06/bobby_jindals_dance_with_the_d.php.

Amazingly, this is not even a new ‘discovery,’ as it came out in Jindal’s election campaigns in both 2003 and 2007, but the people of Louisiana either don’t care or maybe believe that the ability to cast out demons might just be a valuable skill in a politician. 

Others have pointed out that the Catholic church forbids ‘lay’ exorcisms – here’s the appropriate passage from the church’s canon law.  Written in 1983, by the way, lest you think that this is some kind of vestige of ancient superstition:

Can. 1172: §1  No one may lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary.

§2  This permission is to be granted by the local Ordinary only to a priest who is endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life.

(That quote is reprinted from a post in Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Daily Dish – www.andrewsullivan.com).

Suddenly I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole into Bizzarro world, with a Governor of a US State being criticized for having broken the rules in doing the wrong kind of exorcism, thereby breaking Canon law that’s less than 25 years old.  Who’s crazier?  Jindal, the church, or me?  I begin to wonder.

Think about this post if he gets the VP nod from McCain – just when you thought politics couldn’t get any more twisted.

4 comments to Cast Out Them Demons, Ah Gar-on-tee

  • tsnark

    Lest you forget, the good people of Metairie, LA elected David Duke as a US representative back in the late 80s.

    New Orleans is (or was: I haven’t been there since Katrina), such a mix of races and cultures that it should surprise no one that their politics reflect more of the same.

    Where else can you get a tour of such a symbol of Catholicism as the St. Louis Cathedral, and a bastion of science as the Aquarium of the Americas in the same afternoon? Lots of places, I suppose. But did I mention the tour guide was an “initiated” Voodoo priestess? Whatever that means.

  • llysenwi

    Ok, the article was in 1994, the “exorcism” was in 1991-ish, and this has been exposed both in 2003 & 2007. As I understand it Jindal’s people have not commented on this issue. Before we tar and feather him, we might consider that his views could have changed. I know I held some pretty silly views 14 years ago, of course I was 14 at the time. People do sometimes change their minds, which is frequently forgotten during the political season when quotes from eons ago are trotted out without context. Of course and probably likely, he might not have changed his mind, in which case, proceed with both tar and feathers.

    As for the church, well, that is a pretty crazy law. As a scientist, I don’t feel that acceptable, quantitative thresholds for piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life have been established. In the spirit of Milton Friedman, I also support letting the market decide who should be able to perform exorcisms, not a regulatory body that invariably has its own interests, not interests of the possessed, as its primary concern.

  • llysenwi wrote:

    I also support letting the market decide who should be able to perform exorcisms,

    Yeah, cool, me too! Get ordained at the Universal Life Church (it’s free) like I did and let’s get this Free Enterprise Exorcism racket off the ground and into the marketplace!

  • llysenwi

    Ok, I take back any benefit of the doubt talk for Jindal. His creationist/ID arguments are enough evidence that he still out there sniffing the woo.

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