According to Elizabeth Crisp of the Advocate, UL System President Sandra Woodley believes that the budget mess threatening Louisiana higher education “will, unfortunately, come down to the wire.”
So while I do have some other more conventional things to write about, since it seems we are no closer today anyway to a real budget solution, I will treat my readers instead to an epiphany I had this weekend about Bobby Jindal’s game of chicken with higher education and with the state in general. One that is on autopilot since he jumped out of the car long ago and is now wowing Christian conservative audiences in states that aren’t Louisiana who love what he says but still won’t vote for him.
What might answer and explain all these questions?
- Why is Bobby Jindal convinced that he will become the next President of the United States, to the point where he has set up operatives in Iowa and New Hampshire despite his polling in numbers far lower than even what our higher ed appropriations may be next year?
- Why is Jindal essentially ignoring the budget crisis that is threatening to effectively shutter all our higher education institutions up to and including LSU, as well as nearly all other state government services and functions?
- Why does Jindal have this single minded focus on one bill—HB 707, or the Right to Refuse to Bake Wedding Cakes for Gays bill—while the time bomb set to destroy Louisiana’s ability to fund higher education and a whole lot else is set to go off in mere weeks?
- Why is Jindal threatening to veto a budget entire that has even the hint of a revenue increase? Is it really just about Grover Norquist and the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, or something more? Is it because of a pledge made closer to home, perhaps?
Back when I first started my blog, I explained that I recycled my pseudonym from when I was a walkaway from a cultic church and then exposed that movement online. And that I would be using many of those same cult fighting tactics in my writing and research on higher ed issues, because the “anti-tax cult” driving the Louisiana bus straight toward a concrete wall bears a lot of the same characteristics as real religious cults.
But last night I realized… maybe it isn’t just because Jindal is in something that is cult-like.
What if he isn’t associated with Louisiana Family Forum and its associated cult leaders just for his personal political ends, lofty as his aspirations are and influential as LFF is?
What if he is totally, completely, absolutely brainwashed into an actual cult? Or is exhibiting the same behavior and motivations as a cult leader himself?
He isn’t crazy. This isn’t Earl Long redux. But he is very, very deluded.
And if this is true, I know EXACTLY what he is brainwashed into.
Whether Jindal is a true believer or just the penultimate panderer playing one for political gain, he is affiliated with the same movement I used to be in, and that I came out of 11 years ago this spring.
And in fact, my other area of expertise besides college admissions – the “ac” in “alt ac”—is in the wider movement that my old church, the Louisiana Family Forum, and the folks who brought us The Response are part of. I have presented at conferences so I really do have academic bonafides here and am not just putting on my foil hat for your entertainment.
Some people like to call them the “religious right” or “fundamentalists.” But they really aren’t fundamentalists because they go far beyond what is in written religious literature, and “religious right” is much too vague a term. If you want to know more about what Jindal is wrapped up in, check out Rachel Tabachnick’s in-depth research into a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation as well as the Christian Dominion theology underpinning it. Doug Stringer, the cleric who MCed The Response, is considered an “apostle” in this movement. They’ve kind of dispersed in the last ten years into a variety of competing movements and groups (back then they were largely under the organizational umbrella of “convening apostle” C. Peter Wagner, but now they tend to be more loosely connected via personal relationships), but they have the same overarching goal—take over the world and rule and reign not just for God, but as God. Apostles are those who are considered to have divine authority to rule and reign not just over churches or religious movements, but eventually over all governments and aspects of previously “secular” society. Gene Mills and the LFF crowd are also, if not officially “apostles,” very aligned with the goals and aims of this movement.
Of course, this isn’t news. Several bloggers and researchers have been chronicling Jindal’s close ties with the Louisiana Family Forum and the wider Christian dominionist aka New Apostolic Reformation movement for many years now.
But there are other implications far, far beyond a prayer rally and even “religious freedom” bills, bigoted and discriminatory as they are.
These guys have been working for years to take over the world, one community, institution, state, and nation at a time. Again, not news.
But I believe they may see themselves now as being on the verge of taking over our state after it collapses fiscally. The spectre of LSU’s collapse isn’t something to be avoided. It’s targeted. LSU is the crown jewel. Baton Rouge and LSU have been prophesied to be centers of American revival (I have that in my old research files and would have to do some digging to pull it out, but I remember it clearly) so Tigers, you aren’t safe either.
In fact, there is a prophecy in this movement that states that Louisiana would be among the first states to fall into the hands of these guys—that the “alignment” in Baton Rouge would “collapse.” And this isn’t just a Katrina prophecy but a governmental one. Leaders in this movement are very attuned to prophecy—in fact, at The Response, Gene Mills recounted a related prophecy from several years back called “Seven Mountains” where all of society, government, military and culture would come under the authority of this movement—so I don’t have any doubt that seeing fulfillment of this is on the minds of Mills and his gang, not to mention Jindal. Jindal also got heat for closing his address to The Response with, “Our God wins,” and out of context that statement can be explained away. But in context with the entire rally and his behavior since—particularly since it appears Jindal’s work here in Louisiana is done—it does lead one to believe that whether we have a few slabs left after this legislative session, or they are all swept away, the destruction means, “God wins.”
Because I used to be in this movement, and did a ton of research afterwards to the point where it led to my doctoral research in another body of prophetic literature circulating within the movement, I have some additional context to add, and that’s the part that could help us find other ways through the budget mess if I’m right. Context that makes me believe now without a doubt that unless a critical mass of leges are rallied to stand in Jindal’s way, to the point where they can and will override his veto pen to save our state, the worst case scenario for our state budget and for higher education is really going to come to pass. Because I believe the worst case scenario is indeed what they want.
And as controversial as the Americans for Tax Reform pledge is, Americans for Tax Reform is a non-religious political group. Louisiana Family Forum is expressly religious–for example, it states that its mission is to “present “biblical principles in…centers of influence.” LFF’s legislative agenda, as pertains to taxes, is almost exactly the same as ATR’s. But LFF’s agenda also includes all the other things that Jindal is doing and supporting. Jindal could tear up The Pledge today and it wouldn’t matter, because I believe he has made another, and much more significant, pledge to the Louisiana Family Forum.
So here’s my theory. And even though it isn’t an iron clad theory, more something I’m putting out there for consideration, it would explain a lot, even if all that Jindal is doing is pandering. He is also, in my humble opinion, a sociopath (also common among cult leaders) because normal people eventually cave in when people start getting hurt and Jindal isn’t caving–instead, he is more intransigent. These leaders, according to sociologist and cult expert Janja Lalich, basically believe their own BS to the exclusion of others. Regardless of which you believe about Jindal, see if the below from one of her books might describe him (it might describe a lot of politicians, actually):
The Master Manipulator
How might some of this [sociopathic behavior] be manifested in a cult leader? Cult leaders have an outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce. They enter a room and garner all the attention. They command unwavering allegiance and strict obedience. These are, as Restak writes, “individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral, or interpersonal commitments.”
Paranoia may be evident in simple or elaborate delusions of persecution. Highly suspicious, they may feel conspired against, spied on, cheated, or maligned by a person, group, or governmental agency. Any real or suspected unfavorable reaction may be interpreted as a deliberate attack on them or the group (considering the criminal nature of some groups and the antisocial behavior of others, such fears may have a basis in reality).
More difficult to evaluate, of course, is whether these leaders’ belief in their magical powers, omnipotence, and connection to God (or whatever higher power or belief system they are espousing) is delusional or simply part of the con. Megalomania, or the belief that one is able or entitled to rule the world, is equally challenging to evaluate without psychological testing, although numerous cult leaders state quite readily that their goal is to rule the world. In any case, beneath the surface gloss of intelligence, charm, and professed humility seethes an inner world of rage, depression, and fear. (Lalich and Tobias, 2006, p60)
I know I need more concrete evidence to be able to say this for certain, but there’s lots of smoke out there so I think I’m close to describing the gun. And since I don’t have oodles of time to document it all and have a shot at possibly helping others navigate the insanity of this legislative session, I’ll just have to run with this.
- Someone or a group of someones in this movement—more than likely the LFF pastors Jindal meets with monthly, and/or a prophet associated with one of them—has likely prophesied that Jindal will be President. We do have plenty of evidence that they lay hands on him routinely. But I am hypothesizing that on at least one of these occasions he received a prophecy or anointing that he would be President of the United States. So I think Jindal believes it to his core, even despite all evidence to the contrary. Sam Brownback was also anointed President in one of the churches in my old movement back in 2006—I also have raw AV of this event in my files—so there is a valid rationale for my theory, and also look what Brownback is doing in Kansas, where they aren’t far behind us in defunding everything remotely public.
- Also in my theory, and there is much more evidence of this (plus I saw these kinds of commitments first-hand in my old movement), Jindal is also covenanted and submitted to Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum, and his core pastoral counsel. I don’t mean just allied politically or even personally, which again, I’m fully aware is not news. I mean spiritually covenanted. Even if Jindal is Catholic (as is Brownback BTW), he likely has a personal pastor among this core group that he is covenanted and submitted to—who provides his pastoral “covering.” It may be Mills or someone else. It doesn’t matter because if the covenant/submission chain goes through Mills and then on up the line to whomever Mills is covenanted to, it accomplishes the same thing.
This is something that used to be called “discipleship” or “shepherding” and it is a foundation of this movement. Think of it as a religious pyramid scheme. God or Jesus is supposed to be at the top of the pyramid but when I walked away from my old church, I didn’t walk away from my faith as well because I saw then that the top of the pyramid is actually headless and Christ-less. A sick ideology they call God or Jesus is at the top instead, and all who are totally bought into the pyramid are slavishly committed to it. That’s what makes it a cult. This realization radically changed my politics for sure, but it also strengthened my faith.
These type of covenants, especially among leaders, are deep, lifelong, and supersede even marriages. They are imbued with divine authority. Breaking these covenant bonds is akin to the “unpardonable” sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit in Christian parlance. Meaning that if he made the kind of covenant I think he did, Jindal will do ANYTHING he is called upon to do. And I mean ANYTHING. Including shipwrecking LSU and the rest of Louisiana’s higher education system. Or focusing on HB 707 as well as his presidential aspirations to the exclusion of anything else that rational (or maybe I should say non-brainwashed) people see as far more critical.
Back on a more purely political level, here is why I think that Jindal’s signature on the Norquist pledge is just lagniappe compared to what he may have really covenanted to.
Not to mention what any other LFF affiliated leges have covenanted to, including at least one or two that I testified before on Appropriations on April 15. A day that I’ve discovered also had special meaning to the LFF crowd.
Here are the critical points in LFF’s current legislative agenda, as taken from Buddy Amoroso’s responses to their 2015 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire dated 3/9/15:
- Do you support/oppose a “No New Taxes” pledge?
- Do you support/oppose reinstating the “Stelly Tax” in Louisiana?
- Do you support/oppose raising taxes to fill a budget shortfall?
- Do you support/oppose a spending freeze on Legislative Budgets?
- Do you support/oppose a five-year phase out of the Louisiana Corporate Income Tax? (Amoroso was clearly unsure what the current “right” answer of this one is. Given Jindal’s turnaround on “corporate welfare,” I’m not sure I know either.)
- Do you support/oppose a five-year phase out of the Louisiana Personal Income Tax?
- Do you support/oppose extending the Industrial Tax Exemption to 15 years?
- Do you support/oppose expanding Medicaid?
Education (these are just the higher ed specific ones)
- Do you support/oppose ending teacher tenure? (I’m assuming this can be construed to extend from K-12 through higher ed)
- Do you support/oppose continuing to make the TOPS scholarship program available to qualified students regardless of family income?
One can assume that Bobby the Anointed One scored 110% on these questions, and has been coached on the right answers even when they change.
Bobby might have signed Norquist’s pledge.
But who is holding him to Norquist’s pledge?
I don’t think it’s just Grover Norquist.
I think it’s also Gene Mills.
Or in Jindal’s circle of associates, God.
Based upon LFF’s current fiscal and educational agenda, within this context God is telling Bobby Jindal to structurally defund the state so he can give it to Him.
If I am right, (again, whether Jindal is a true believer or con artist) and leges don’t realize this, or at least the leges who didn’t score so well on LFF’s most recent Legislative Report Card, we are beyond screwed. LSU is at real risk of going down the road toward becoming Louisiana State Theological Seminary and Laissez-Faire Enterprise Incubator because that’s where the money and the influence to run the place will come from, aside from football that is. And the rest of us? God help us. I mean the real God, if you believe in Him that is.
And if David Vitter becomes our next governor? Or Scott Angelle, who has C. B. Forgoston’s vote for Most Likely to be Jindal’s Clone? Then we are screwed for a very, very long time. Because Vitter and Angelle are among Gene Mills’s special guys too. Plus I think either one of these pols would actually stick around to do more of LFF’s bidding, at least during the first term.
I know this may sound nuts.
But does anyone else have a better theory? One that isn’t equally nuts?
This legislative session, maybe not.
This is the year to believe the unbelievable. Or at least consider it.