Bobby Jindal has had more than his fair share of crises as governor of Louisiana since 2008, such as the continued recovery after Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey spoke with Jindal about his new book, Leadership and Crisis (Regnery Publishing), which details his conversion to Christianity and offers policy recommendations on issues like the death penalty, immigration, and the economy.
Why did you convert from Hinduism to Christianity?
I'd love to tell you I had a sudden epiphany, but it took me seven long years. My best friend gave me my first copy of the Bible, but it wasn't the Christmas gift I wanted, so I threw it in the back of my closet. The first time I thought seriously about matters of life and death was when my grandfather died. I picked up the Bible to start reading, and I spent many years reading books by authors like C. S. Lewis and Chuck Colson. Years later, my best friend invited me to hear him sing at a nondenominational church on Louisiana State University's campus where they showed a movie. When I saw the actor playing Jesus being crucified, it hit me that he was on that cross because of Bobby Jindal, my sins. How arrogant for me to do anything but get on my knees and worship him. The most important moment in my life was when I found Jesus Christ.
I'd like to explore how your Catholic faith has affected your policies. For example, you advocate the death penalty for perpetrators of child rape. How do you reconcile that with the teachings of the Catholic Church?
We're made in God's image, and it's tragic that the modern world doesn't take the value of life more seriously. I describe the case of a little girl who was brutalized ...