Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

The Exorcism of Bobby Jindal

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: spirituality, religion, Satan, exorcism, Bobby Jindal, politics,

ExorcismAlthough he’s still on John McCain’s short list, revelations that Bobby Jindal took part in an unconventional exorcism ceremony must have hurt the Louisiana governor’s chances at the vice presidential nod. Jindal wrote about his exorcism experience in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, a Roman Catholic magazine. In the article, deconstructed on the Daily Kingfish blog, Jindal describes a formative religious experience where a number of students laid hands on a young woman who tried to escape, but was restrained by the students who forced her to read passages from the bible. “The essay raises more questions than answers,” according to the Daily Kingfish, “and many of these questions are uncomfortable.”

Part of the discomfort stems from the fact that exorcisms in America are often confined to the movies. In Germany, however, exorcisms are experiencing a revival in popularity, according to an article from the British Times Online. The German Catholic Church has shied away from exorcisms since 1973, when a 23-year-old woman was killed during an exorcism ceremony. Today, the Times reports that hundreds Germans are turning to find exorcists abroad, where cultures are more accepting of the pracitce. In Italy, for example, the Times estimates that there are some 300 trained exorcists.

“To the people who come to see me, I first advise them to go see a doctor or a psychologist,” the official exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, told the Spanish newspaper La Razon, but there are still enough possessed people to keep him busy. At 82 years old, Amorth has performed an estimated 70,000 exorcisms in his lifetime, he continues to work seven days each week, and his schedule is full for the next two months. Amorth also gave some insight into the roll of exorcisms in politics, telling La Razon, “the devil likes to take over those that hold political positions.”