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Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare
December 1994 By Bobby Jindal/New Oxford Review

In 1994 when Jindal was in his early 20’s he wrote an article entitled, “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare.” In it he describes being present for what many would refer to as a spiritual exorcism. It involved his best friend  at the time “Susan.”  It is a truly captivating read full of talk of demons, screaming, praying, crosses, peace, etc. In many ways the whole experience left Jindal with more questions than answers but you can bet that if Jindal runs this topic will come up big time.

The Brody File has read the entire article but had to pay $1.50. To do the same, click here. However, The Brody File has provided a major excerpt of it below. This is in Jindal’s own words and it is essential reading.

I’m sure some will read this and afterwards try to label Jindal as someone with strange religious views. But in typical Jindal fashion, he dissects the situation intellectually. He experienced something that clearly had a major impact in his life. Now if he does run for President, this incident will be under the microscope and he’ll be put on the couch by the mainstream media.

(A quick set up. Jindal's best friend "Susan" has been diagnosed with cancer. She had been exhibiting unstable emotions lately and that is about to lead to a "prayer session" for Susan.)

A senior in UCF (University Christian Fellowship) and a leader of my Bible study group had once asked me if I believed in angels, spirits, and other such apparitions. I had recently heard a priest confidently proclaim that the Bible's words on such phenomena were never meant to be inter­preted literally; he had historical evidence that inci­dents involving spirits were merely metaphors for tangible events. Being a new Catholic and very eager to avoid the subject, I had accepted the priest's views without question. After I related my doubts, the se­nior proceeded to describe recent incidents involv­ing mutual acquaintances -- e.g., a woman who claimed demons inflicted physical scars on her arms. I remained polite, but incredulous. The issue of spirits did not affect me, and I was thus content to leave its resolution to others. I had no opinions or feelings on the subject.

But Susan was forcing me to take a stand on the entire issue of spirits and charismatic Christians. Having given the subject little thought, I was hardly ready to present an informed opinion. Susan was my closest friend and I would have tried to believe her had she claimed Martians had kidnapped her; friends are supposed to believe in each other even when nobody else does. Despite my verbal reassurances and lack of condemnations, Susan knew me well enough to see that I was having problems ac­cepting her visions and spirits. I was doing every­thing I could to convey my support and sympathy; however, I was definitely in unfamiliar territory and was overwhelmed by the strength of her convictions. I wavered between my loyalty to Susan and the apparent irrationality of her claims.

I left the room we were in for a moment, on some flimsy pretense, made the sign of the cross in desperation, and pleaded with God for divine assis­tance. Seconds after I re-entered the room, Susan angrily lashed out at me, telling me she never wanted to talk with me again since I did not love her, and ran out in tears. I tried following her, to no avail. I did not understand what I had done. All I could think was, "Gee, thanks God. So much for prayer." I realized that Susan had never fully presented her interpretation of the recent events in her life, and I had not had the chance to accept or reject her claims. The entire conversation remained very nebulous in my mind, and many of Susan's reactions made little sense. I had a vague sense that her anger and tears involved both my inability to care for her and also my inability to understand her recent experiences.

I was stunned, and so was hardly prepared for what was to follow the next day. While Susan's older sister flew in to provide comfort during this trying time, Susan visited the doctor for one last set of tests. UCF had organized a prayer meeting that night for Susan's upcoming operation and the intense emotional trials she had endured. I called Su­san, in an attempt to make peace, but was greeted with cold indifference. As she was hanging up, I asked if she wanted my presence at the prayer meet­ing. She declined the offer, but suddenly changed her mind just before the line was disconnected. I, along with several other students, gathered in a classroom, despite the hectic finals schedule, to of­fer our prayers and support for Susan. Since she was a very active member and Bible study leader in UCF, many upperclassmen were in attendance. These stu­dents, the most active and experienced Protestant leaders on campus, came from different churches with different creeds.

The meeting started, as did any other UCF gath­ering, with group songs and a few prayers. We sat in a circle on the floor so we could face one another. Susan refused to acknowledge my presence when I entered. Though I was accustomed to feeling an emotional high during these meetings, I felt the initial songs were a bit dry. Given the circumstances, the group had lost much of its normal enthusiasm. Susan's sister then asked for a period of meditative prayer, the entire group would fall silent while individuals would pray aloud "as the Spirit led them." This is a common practice in both Bible studies and group meetings within UCF. My inexperience as a new Christian and my reserved nature prevented me from speaking dur­ing these times; rather, I prayed silently.

After a period of group prayer, a student made a movement to end the meeting. Suddenly, Susan emitted some strange guttural sounds and fell to the floor. She started thrashing about, as if in some sort of seizure. Susan's sister must have recognized what was happening, for she ordered us to gather around and place our hands on Susan's prostrate body. I re­fused to budge from my position and froze in hor­ror. I will never forget the first comprehensible sound that came from Susan; she screamed my name with such an urgency that the chill still travels down my spine whenever I recall this moment.

Confused as to the events occurring before my very eyes, I responded to the desperation and cry for help so evident in Susan's voice. I wanted to rescue my friend from these horrible people who were holding her down and ridiculing her dignity. I tentatively ap­proached the group and placed the edge of my finger­tip on her shoulder, as if afraid of becoming infected with the disease that was ravaging her body. I had yet to realize that the affliction was ravaging her soul.

In a voice I had never heard before or since, Su­san accused me: "Bobby, you cannot even love Susan." Before I even noticed the sound of her voice, I thought it funny that Susan would refer to herself in the third person. Then the full impact of the words hit me. Forgetting the frantic students around me and even poor Susan lying on the floor, I thought of our conversation the day before. The real argument had been whether I was capable of loving Susan. I needed the answer to be yes, more for my sake than ours. I have always been a closed and relatively unemotional person and needed to know that my best friend felt that I at least could love her, due to some very strong remarks made two years before by my former girl­friend (hardly an objective source), I was beginning to doubt that I had the capacity for feeling.

Knowing that I was doing Susan no good, I quickly retreated to the opposite side of the room. Susan proceeded to denounce every individual in the room, often citing very private and confidential information she could not possibly have known on her own. It was information capable of hurting individuals -- attacking people, as she did, by revealing their hidden feelings, fears, and worries. The night was just beginning!

The students, led by Susan's sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, "Satan, I command you to leave this woman." Others exhorted all "demons to leave in the name of Christ." It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults.

Though I attempted to maintain a stoic attitude and an expressionless face, my inner fear must have been apparent to all present. I was the only one present who remained silent and apart from the group.

I repeated to myself that such things do not happen to normal people. I had attended a charis­matic church once, out of curiosity, but had merely seen a congregation dance wildly, pray enthusiasti­cally, and speak in a language that sounded like gib­berish. I wondered how the horror unfolding before my eyes could make any sense. I desperately wanted it all to end, but could not leave.

Then the fear and doubts began. Though I have experienced the normal periods of questioning, I have never come so close to abandoning my faith as I did that night. I could not pray to God. I tried as hard as I could, but I couldn't. Out of desperation, I called upon the saints to articulate my prayers and rescue me from this living nightmare. Though I had never prayed with the saints before, I began to understand the Church's teaching of the unity within the One Body. I pleaded with the saints in Heaven to offer God the prayers I was unable to formulate.

Susan's sister sent someone to call a local min­ister experienced in such matters. Some desperate part of my brain wondered if we should also call the campus priest. I wanted the full authority of the Church to confront this demon, or whatever was causing this horrible scene. I wanted the priest to bring the Eucharist and watch the spirits fall before the power of Christ's Real Presence. But I was scared. I wondered what would happen if the Eucha­rist did nothing and the priest was helpless. What if the consecrated Bread was just bread? What if the Church had no power over the cause of Susan's bi­zarre behavior? I was unable to pray and too fright­ened to test my Church's spiritual strength.

I, like many other students feeling the effects of the night, was swaying from exhaustion. I was mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained of everything I possessed. I was ready to give up. I rubbed my hands over my face and through my hair in an attempt to stir hidden reserves of energy. Though her eyes had been closed the entire time and I was kneeling several feet away, Susan must have sensed my actions. Addressing me for the second and last time, Susan told me to leave because I was tired.

Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. Being a biology major at the time, I greeted this feeling with skepticism and rational explanations. I checked my pulse for signs of nervousness and wondered what could cause such a sensation. Shortness of breath is a common symptom that can mean very little or may signal the onslaught of a fatal stroke. Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leav­ing it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.

I gave up all attempts at prayer and admitted conditional defeat. The effort succeeded and I felt relief immediately. There were no more mysterious forces and I was able to watch the proceedings with the security of an outsider, beyond the immediate reality of the frenzied action I was witnessing. It may have been I was trying too hard to pray and be there for Susan; however, the sense of fear and dread felt like more than mere anxiety at the time.

Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.

Alice's presence countered Susan's recent burst of energy, and Alice's confidence inspired us all. Surely Crusade's experienced leader would be able to rescue us and reaffirm our faith in Christ, the Bible, and everything good. Even I felt confident enough to approach God once again; Susan's lunge for the door awakened and invigorated me. Strangely, I found myself repeating the Hail Mary until it became a chant. Being a recent convert to Catholicism, I had yet to accept the Catholic doc­trines concerning Mary and considered any form of Marian devotion to be idolatry. Though I had never before prayed a Hail Mary in my life, I suddenly found myself incapable of any other form of prayer. Somehow, Mary's intercessions allowed me to find peace during that long night; I knew that I had sur­vived the worst and that I would exit with my faith intact. It terrified me to recall how close I came to turning away from Christ out of fear.

The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical pas­sages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.

While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence "Jesus is Lord." Over and over, she repeated "Jesus is L..L..LL," often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed "Jesus is Lord."

With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, "Has something happened?" She did not re­member any of the past few hours and was startled to find her friends breaking out in cheers and laugh­ter, overwhelmed by sudden joy and relief.

My expression must have betrayed my former fears; Stacy, a freshman I hardly knew, asked about my welfare. I was startled that anyone would be of­fering me assistance when Susan should have been the focus of attention. I eventually left the room in a stupor. As I was leaving in a crowd, Susan's sister, who had met me once years before, called my name and asked that I "commit my nightlife to prayer." I hardly understood what she meant and was startled that others continued to single me out for attention. I nodded and looked gently at Susan, who thanked me for coming.

Though I waited for a friend to avoid being alone during the walk home, the rest of the night proceeded without incident. My nightly prayers, de­spite my apprehensions, came to me easily and I no longer had any problems approaching God; indeed, I left that night with a reaffirmed faith in God's power over any force in or out of this world. If the night's events had not seemed so real, I would have thought my earlier fears silly.


(Jindal's final conclusion in the article is below:)

I left that classroom with a powerful belief in Mary's intercessions and with many questions about spiritual warfare; I also learned a lasting lesson in hu­mility and the limits of human understanding. Was the purpose of that night served when so many indi­viduals were inducted into the Church? Did I witness spiritual warfare? I do not have the answers, but I do believe in the reality of spirits, angels, and other re­lated phenomena that I can neither touch nor see.


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