"The American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war," Jindal will say at the Simi Valley, Calif., event. "It threatens the fabric of our communities, the health of our public square and the endurance of our constitutional governance." "This war is waged in our courts and in the halls of political power," he adds, according to the prepared remarks. "It is pursued with grim and relentless determination by a group of like-minded elites, determined to transform the country from a land sustained by faith into a land where faith is silenced, privatized and circumscribed."
Jindal is rather shrewdly attempting to tap into something that's universal, but particularly strong among contemporary conservatives: the urge to rise above the mundane and join a transformative crusade. It's one thing to debate the limits of religious prerogatives when it comes to the actions of private corporations, or to try to find ways to celebrate religious holidays that the entire community will find reasonable. That stuff gets into disheartening nuance, and requires considering the experiences and feelings of people who don't share your beliefs, which is a total drag. But a war? War is exciting, war is dramatic, war is consequential, war is life or death. War is where heroes rise to smite the unrighteous. So who do you want to get behind, the guy who says "We can do better," or the guy who thunders, "Follow me to battle, to history, to glory!"
"These elites have to this point faced little opposition," eh? What about the "war on religion" meme pursued by the entire Republican Party and its presidential candidate throughout 2012? What about the endless, interminable harping on the idiotic "War on Christmas" every Yuletide on Fox? How about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the pompadoured hosts of conservative evangelicalism who have been posing as martyrs since the day the Affordable Care Act was enacted? Did I imagine the decades of agitation by the Christian Right -- invariably in harness with conservative pols -- claiming that resistance to their agenda represented a unconscionable effort to restrict the exercise of faith "in the public square" (the Richard John Neuhaus buzzword Bobby so unoriginally tosses out today as though it's a fresh way of looking at things)? Is the Kansas House of Representatives a persecuted sect, a "remnant" fighting the brave, doomed fight against the Infernal Hosts?