Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has spend $45,000 in state funds on traveling to churches for speaking engagements. And that’s all in just 5 months!
Between March 2 and July 20, Jindal traveled to churches, mostly in north Louisiana, on a state helicopter at a cost to the taxpayers of about $45,000, according to State Police records.
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.
The Governor’s Office refuses to tell the media ahead of time about Jindal’s church visits.
A video of one of the visits — posted on YouTube — shows that Jindal talks about the military, his family, his values and his conversion to Christianity.
Every single conversion story I’ve ever heard is exactly the same. . . or at least a variation on one of these 6 stories. I really think he didn’t have to spend $45,000 telling a story that people have already heard before. At the very least, just give it via satellite or travel on your own dime.
This is another clear violation of the first amendment. And even some religious leaders agree. Rev. Welton Gaddy a Baptist minister and head of the Interfaith Alliance, insisted that Jindal reimburse the state:
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.
Governor Jindal, it appears that you owe the people of Louisiana an apology and the treasurer of the state a reimbursement of at least $45,000 in addition to whatever money was spent in the period not covered by the Advocate’s investigation. No taxpayer money should have been used for your travel.
To which Jindal’s spokesperson responded thusly:
This political group [the Interfaith Alliance] opposes putting crosses up in honor of fallen policemen, has attacked the National Day of Prayer and advocates for same-sex marriage, so it’s not surprising that they are attacking the governor for accepting invitations to speak at Louisiana churches.
Oh, well in that case, Jindal has every right to steal money from the people of Lousianna. Riiiiight!