Jindal: Liberals, big business bullying states on religious freedom
© Greg Nash
 
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal defended his decision to issue a religious freedom executive order during a speech Friday, bashing liberals and corporations for teaming up to “bully” conservative governors on similar proposals.
 
“The left teamed up with corporate America to bully leaders in Indiana and Arkansas when the debated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” he said Friday during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City.
 
“My warning to those corporate leaders is: If you think you are going to come to Louisiana and bully the governor of Louisiana, don’t waste your breath.”
 
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Jindal announced the order this week after the failure of similar statewide legislation. He chided liberals and corporations for their recent criticism of those rules in Indiana and Arkansas, where they argued the measures amounted to sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. 
 
Those governors eventually acquiesced and supported fixes that protect against discrimination and against businesses denying service to people based on their religious beliefs.
 
A number of major companies, including Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, joined in the criticism, leading Jindal to question the alliance.
 
“The same left that wants to tax and regulate them out of existence, that doesn’t believe in profits,” he said.
 
“Economic liberty is simply the other side of the same coin that is religious liberty.”
 
The Louisiana governor continues to flirt with a presidential bid, announcing an exploratory committee this week. 
 
He’s said he will decide his 2016 fate come June, when the State Legislature’s session ends. But a bid would be an uphill climb, as he’s polling towards the back of the prospective GOP field.
 
He criticized Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton for recent comments that religious beliefs have to “be changed” around issues like abortion, mocking her by asking if she meant sending people to “reeducation camps.”
 
“My religious beliefs are not between me and Hillary Clinton, my religious beliefs are between me and God,” he said.
 
“As Christians, we shouldn’t face discrimination from the government for simply for wanting to follow our conscience.”
 
And Jindal scolded President Obama for what he sees as a failed foreign policy  and politics of division. He added that while a Republican president could fix “many of the disasters and mistakes” of the Obama administration, the president’s “attempt to redefine the definition of America and the American dream” is the “biggest threat” of his administration.
 
“We can undo tax rates and regulations, we can undo bad government programs. It’s a lot harder to change our culture back,” he said.
 
“The American dream I learned about from my parents was never about envy redistribution or government dependence.”