Bobby Jindal and the Dorm Room Exorcism
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been oft-mentioned as a possible running mate for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On CNN, former Bush speechwriter David Frum simply proclaimed Bobby Jindal for Vice President. Back in May, Mother Jones‘s Tim Murphy offered one reason that Romney, as the first-ever Mormon presidential nominee, may prefer not to choose Jindal, in order to avoid “talking about a religious tradition that many Americans view with suspicion.”
As Murphy writes, while a college student at Brown University, Jindal participated in a dorm-room exorcism of a female friend. Even more, he wrote about the exorcism in a 1994 piece for the New Oxford Review, an archly conservative Roman Catholic publication; the article is entitled Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare. The female friend in question is called “Susan” and Jindal goes to great pains to make it clear, she was a friend and their “intimate relationship” was not physical.
In his essay, Jindal writes of inviting Susan to a Christian a cappella concert in the midst of which she leaves “in a very sullen mood.” He finds her “sobbing uncontrollably” outside the concert venue and walks her home to her dorm room where he “promptly sat Susan on a bed and placed myself in a chair located several feet across the room.”
As Murphy points out, Susan was undergoing treatment for cancer and certainly had reason to be upset; Jindal believed she was “possessed.” Murphy quotes his account of the dorm-room exorcism which seems to have involved Susan being restrained after she tries to escape, at which point:
Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.
The exorcism was not, it seems, condoned by a minister and the students, including Jindal, had apparently taken Susan’s spiritual health into their own hands. Here’s a taste of what went on to “beat the demon”:
…Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible’s authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
Only an excerpt of Jindal’s Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfarecan be read without a fee on the New Oxford Review‘s website. But just a few paragraphs is enough to know why, as Time magazine‘s Alex Altman observes, were Jindal selected, the exorcism would be sure to “dominate cable chatter.”
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