9/5/09

Jindal Violates Church-State Separation

The Interfaith Alliance logo.Image via Wikipedia

I'm sure you've heard by now that Louisiana Governor Piyush "Bobby" Jindal has been traveling to several churches throughout his state by helicopter and asking taxpayers to pick up the bill, $45,000 so far. According to The Advocate,
In May, June and July, there was rarely a Sunday when Jindal did not fly a taxpayer-funded helicopter to church services in a remote part of the state. Two aides usually accompanied him along with his security detail and pilots.
Why is this a problem for which Jindal should be held accountable?

By regularly visiting churches in order to make political speeches at taxpayer expense, Jindal is breaking the law. He is ignoring separation of church and state and has been called out for doing so by the Interfaith Alliance. This is a prominent Christian group that deserves credit for standing up for church-state separation in this case. Quite simply, they are asking Jindal to reimburse Louisiana taxpayers.
If you were traveling to these churches to worship with the various congregations, you should have paid your own expenses to get there as did the other worshippers. If you were traveling to these churches for the purpose of sharing your personal faith and encouraging faith in others, state funds absolutely should not have been used to pay your expenses. Indeed, in that instance, your state-funded actions were a violation of the United States Constitution's promise of religious freedom which has been a critical contributor to the vitality of religion in our nation. If you were traveling to these churches for political purposes, you should not have been there in the first place, regardless of who funded the travel.
So far, Jindal's office has made it clear that they have no intention of reimbursing taxpayers. I hope our friends in Louisiana are able to turn up the heat on Jindal and that the national media continues to consider this important story worth their attention.

H/T to Friendly Atheist

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