Kathryn Lopez

A poisonous cloud has been circling the Republican presidential nomination this season. First, it was "the Mormon question" raised against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, which was used as a political sledgehammer by one of his primary opponents. Now, it's religious writing from the youth of the still-young Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Can we please not go there again? Can we please not use religion against another candidate this cycle?

As the media twitters about recently elected Jindal being considered as a possible choice for John McCain's vice presidential running mate, a buzzkill arrives. On the Left blogosphere, an article Jindal wrote as a young convert to Catholicism has resurfaced, presumably to serve as disqualifying evidence.

As it happens, I don't want McCain to pick Jindal for his ticket, but not because of this. Jindal is a young, bright light of the Republican Party. He's a whiz kid, an authentic conservative, and a man who loves his country, his family and his God. Jindal has quite a job before him in Louisiana. As a fan of his, I want to see him do it. Then we can talk about electing him president, after he's done the impossible and changed the face of Louisiana politics -- a job he is already hard at work doing.

This is not the first time Jindal's religious writings have surfaced. They were used against him during his campaign for governor, as Democrats tried to take Protestant voters from him, accusing him of being "anti-Protestant." As it happened, their accusation was based on a quote from John Calvin that Jindal used in one of his pieces. In defeat, I hope the Dems hold remedial reading classes for their political consultants.

Now, the insinuation appears to be that Jindal is a weirdo. The article that is circulating revolves around an "exorcism" Jindal experienced as an undergraduate at Brown University. While exorcisms should not be tried at home or in your dorm room, it is not breaking news that there is evil in the world. That a young man recognized this while in college is not a scandal.

Although calling the then-23-year-old's story "bizarre," the "Talking Points Memo" Web site concedes, it's not a "blockbuster." Writers there warn, "Jindal's battle with the dark forces may become an issue should his Veep candidacy proceed. While it's hardly a blockbuster revelation, it could provide fodder for bloggers and late-night comics to turn his candidacy into a media sideshow."

How lovely would it have been if these liberal bloggers had added, "While all are free to do so, that, of course, would be silly and antithetical to the spirit of our founding."


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.