Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal may not be near the top of the polls for the Republican presidential nomination race or even drawing the biggest crowds, but he may be the smartest candidate in the race.
After graduating from Brown University, Jindal was accepted into law school at Yale and medical school at Harvard, but chose to attend graduate work at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Jindal has served in the George W. Bush administration, was elected to the U.S. Congress from Louisiana, and is a two term governor of his native state. Jindal's parents emigrated from India just months before he was born in Baton Rouge.
Below are six facts about the faith life of Jindal:
1. He has said on several occasions that the single most important moment in his life "is the moment I found Jesus Christ."
Jindal added, "I was the one who was lost. He found me." Jindal credits his best friend for "planting the seed of the Gospel" in his life. Jindal declared his best friend gave him a Bible with his name in gold letters on the cover that he only opened years later when his grandfather died. He joked that since the Bible had his name on it, he couldn't throw it away. He also joked that before his conversion he didn't see it as a valuable gift at first because you could get a free Bible in any hotel room. After seeing a film where Christ was depicted on the Cross, Jindal says the Bible fully resonated with him.
2. Jindal, who was raised Hindu, is now Roman Catholic.
Before changing his name to "Bobby," after the popular Brady Bunch character, Jindal was born Piyush Jindal, which is still his legal name. He was raised in a Hindu household. He has said on several occasions that he best identifies as an "evangelical Catholic" and says he "felt as if the Bible had been written especially for me."
3. He once attended and participated in an exorcism.
Some in the media like to poke fun at Jindal for his participation in an exorcism of his college friend. His Democrat opponent in the governor's race, Kathleen Blanco, even tried to use this fact against him, but it ultimately failed. Jindal called it an attack on his faith and Blanco soon dropped the attack in heavily Catholic Louisiana.
4. His parents were not pleased with his Christian conversion and did not attend his college baptism.
In 2014, Jindal told The Washington Post that after his conversion his parents "were very, very concerned." It was a cause of friction in their relationship for a period. His parents are still actively Hindu but according to Jindal he says they are now more accepting of his decision and have attended the baptism of their grandchildren in the Catholic Church.
5. The sacraments and tradition led him to the Catholic Church in college.
"I felt a hunger for the sacraments," declared Jindal. The Louisiana governor has also praised the history and the tradition of the church and says it too was a decisive factor in his embrace of Catholicism.
6. His faith reflects his views on abortion and he delivered his youngest child at home before paramedics arrived.
Jindal has a strong legislative record and executive record as governor for supporting pro-life legislation. Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, called Jindal the most pro-life governor in the history of Louisiana.
"A civilized society is judged and will be judged by how it treats the weakest members of that society," declared Jindal.