Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is starting to resort to manipulation to get corporations to do what he wants. In Iowa, Jindal blasted corporations for daring to protest Indiana and Arkansas for their anti-gay bills, and calling that position an “unnatural” alliance with the “radical left.”
MSNBC reports that Jindal is already talking about eliminating corporate subsidies from Louisiana’s tax code, something he claims to see as unnecessary spending. One has to wonder if he’s going to use that as a scare tactic in hopes that it will bring big business in line with social conservatives. He said, to MSNBC:
My message to corporate America is that we need to stand up for religious liberty rights, because these are the same conservatives who will stand up for your economic freedoms as well. Be careful, this unnatural alliance with the radical left is not a sustainable one.
He’s so scared that the horrible, radical left and the unholy, unnatural LGBT community will win this battle that he’s threatening Corporate America with losing the freedom to rake in obscene profits and pay no taxes, if they continue down this awful path (is that really such a bad thing, though?). However, social conservatives like Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and others, have closed their eyes, ears, and minds to the fact that public opinion has concretely changed. Instead, they see it as nothing less than a war that’s threatening whoever their silent majority is.
Big business, on the other hand, is acutely aware of shifting public opinion on various issues. They’re often unwilling to risk alienating a majority of the public—which represents their lifeblood—by taking an unpopular stand on a social issue. To be sure, this isn’t always true. Just look at Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A. But it’s very frequently true. Businesses must be conscious of their images, and their images can take a beating when they take an unpopular stand on a social issue.
Jindal wrote an op-ed in The New York Times just two days ago, saying that he was standing firm on his position against equality. He supports a measure currently in Louisiana’s legislature called the Marriage and Conscience Act, which would make it illegal to take adverse action due to a person or organization’s sincerely held religious belief about marriage.
He also said:
A pluralistic and diverse society like ours can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us. That’s why religious freedom laws matter — and why it is critical for conservatives and business leaders to unite in this debate.
He preaches tolerance, and then calls those who disagree with discrimination and are willing to stand for their beliefs “bullies.” Like all other bigots on the religious right, tolerance is a one-way street. They don’t have to tolerate anything, but they’ll scream, whine, cry, and throw huge tantrums over people not tolerating them.
Jindal can go ahead and stand firm on this. He can go ahead and stick with a shrinking, shrill minority. Corporations, however, who are overly aware of public opinion and how that affects their bottom line, are not going to suddenly change their stances on social issues because of that. It’s not likely that they’ll take his warnings seriously.