Evangelical Christians are among the most-coveted voting blocs in Iowa politics. If you have them, they can dominate an election. If you don’t, your chances of winning – in a primary or general election – are not good.
Last night, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a born-again Christian, definitely had that in mind during his visit last night to Iowa City. Local pastor Brad Sherman had invited him to speak as part of David Lane’s American Renewal Project.
The invitation-only event was not open to the press, but The Iowa Statesman was able to get an account from a Des Moines pastor who attended. Michael Demastus, pastor at Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, wrote about his experience for his personal blog, which you can read in full here.
Jindal shared his personal testimony, and then shared his prescription for what he says is ailing America. In a roomful of pastors, it probably surprised no one when he said a spiritual revival was way overdue in our nation. This was similar to an event in Baton Rouge that Demastus attended in December in which Jindal asked the pastors to pray with him. Not only did they do that, but they prayed for him and over him in a powerfully spiritual display.
“All the ministers gathered around him and prayed over him and for him,” Demastus said. “That was a powerful moment, honestly.”
Iowans have come to expect quite a bit of pandering from those who either running or thinking about running for President of the United States. It comes with playing host to the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus.
Iowa evangelicals, particularly, have come to expect a heaping dose of pandering, and they can usually see it coming from a mile away. With Jindal, however, Demastus said that wasn’t the case; what happened last night was genuine.
“Gov. Jindal prayed as well,” he said. “His words were not the carefully scripted words of a political pundit. His words in his prayer were words that came from a long-standing intimacy with his Savior. Jindal doesn’t just say the right things in the right setting. He knows Jesus and it is obvious in his prayer language.”
Calling Jindal a “true Christian statesman,” Demastus said Iowa evangelical Christians will have some tough choices and heavy vetting to do before the caucus comes. Noting the likely campaigns of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, all of whom, are professed Christians, he said evangelicals will have their work cut out for them in the months ahead.
“It will be very interesting to see how it all unfolds,” he said. “But to my brothers in ministry, I would challenge you to hold these candidates’ feet to the fire and vet them through and through. That is our responsibility as leaders in this state!”
Editor’s note: This article was corrected to reflect that a prayer took place in December.