Could someone please explain to me what the big deal here is?

This old Free Republic post contains the text of [Republican Louisiana gubernatorial candidate] Jindal’s “How Catholicism is Different” article, which is now the focus of a Democratic Party attack ad against him. It won’t likely be up long, as the magazine is aggressively seeking to expunge versions of the piece from the web to protect Jindal.

Aside from the fact that it’s written like a legal brief, apparently to make it seem “authoritative”, it really is a slap across the face of all non-Catholic Christians.

Jindal’s article has a lot of deliberately obfuscatory pseudo-intellectual talk so I’m just going to quote directly from Kos’s summaries of each component of the argument:

Summary: Catholics are right, everyone else is wrong.

Summary: Catholicism is infallible, all other religions are burdened with utterly depraved minds subject to subjective interpretations leading to anarchy and heresy.

Or even more concisely: Non-Catholics are anarchic heretics.

Summary: Jesus was a Catholic, not a protestant.

Summary: Anyone leaving the Catholic Church is a heretic.

Summary: Luther was an idiot.

Summary: My church is big and old and can kick your church’s ass.

Pretty controversial stuff, if you’re not a Catholic. But there’s really no reason to be surprised that Jindal would believe all of this stuff. It kind of comes with the territory of being a member of any religion. If you’re Catholic, obviously Protestants are heretics. If you’re Protestant/Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/etc., every single adherent to any religion not your own in deeply and profoundly wrong on many of the most basic matters of human existence.

It’s something that liberals and pretty much anyone interested in the idea of religious tolerance get uncomfortable with, but there’s really no way around it besides perhaps some kind of Gaimanesque omni-pantheon. It’s simply not possible to have faith that something exists without the corresponding belief that a contradictory entity or event does not exist.

Religious conservatives tend to be a lot more up front about this than liberals. And while it may expose one of the bigger problems with religion in general, it makes us look a bit ridiculous when we get the vapors because a Catholic thinks that Protestant beliefs are dead wrong.

And while we’re on the subject, the idea that tolerance of religion means that religious convictions, unlike any other form of belief, are magically above criticism in an open society is absurd.


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