Eying White House, Jindal says America needs spiritual revival

Last Updated 25 January 2015, 11:39 IST

Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has called for a "spiritual revival" to "fix" the ailments plaguing America as the rising Republican star courted Christian conservatives in advance of a possible presidential run in 2016 to succeed incumbent Barack Obama.

In a 15-minute speech at a controversial Christian evangelical rally, Jindal said: "We can't just elect a candidate to fix what ails our country. We can't just pass a law and fix what ails our country," he said in Baton Rouge, capital of the US state of Louisiana.

"We need a spiritual revival to fix what ails our country," Jindal, the 43-year-old leader, said while skipping an Iowa event yesterday that drew a number of Republican presidential hopefuls for the White House.

Jindal, who was raised by Hindu parents, described his conversion to Catholicism in high school, though the self- described "evangelical Catholic" did not reference his denomination as he spoke to the crowd of mostly evangelical Protestants.

Jindal also recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could "save innocent human lives" from abortion.

It was his second major speech in a week to touch on religion. In London on Monday, he told an Anglo-American think-thank Muslims had established "no-go zones" in a number of European cities. Those comments attracted criticism, though Jindal refused to back down.

Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering.

But Jindal's keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as "The Response," in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president, The Washington Post noted.

"Let's all go plant those seeds of the gospel," he said, describing how his conversion would not have occurred without the influence of his friends. "Share the good news with all whom we encounter."

(Published 25 January 2015, 11:38 IST)

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