With Her Newsworthy ‘Firsts,’ Don’t Ignore Religion Angles In Nikki Haley vs. Donald Trump

Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa and lifted in Sikhism, Haley was encouraged by her mom and dad to pay a visit to varied churches and understand the surrounding society. She married spouse Michael in both equally Sikh and Methodist ceremonies and shortly immediately after converted to Christianity. She once in a while visits Sikh gurdwaras out of respect for her family’s heritage and has toured the religion’s holiest web-site, the Golden Temple in India.

In the course of her fast rise to be a South Carolina legislator and governor and then Trump’s United Nations ambassador, Haley has endured spiritual potshots from both of those correct and still left.

A Baptist preacher who favored her opponent declared that Christian commitment “excludes other religions” so “questions are being asked.” A veteran legislator who known as Haley a “rag—-” (a Google-banned racial slur) claimed “everyone knew she converted for political purposes.” Campaign foes labeled her a Buddhist and a Muslim.

Skeptics observed that in the 2010 marketing campaign, her website reported, “I believe that in the electrical power and grace of Almighty God.” But when issues arose more than Christian authenticity, this was rewritten to profess “my religion in Christ” and “living for Christ every day.” See this 2010 GetReligion publish: “What? Nikki Haley’s religion evolving?

That calendar year, Nationwide Public Radio posted a remarkably judgmental piece by Indian American Sohini Baliga about Haley’s “Christian bit” and concluded, “I’m not shopping for.” To Baliga, an apparent “conversion of convenience” is “politically expedient.” Also notice this 2020 attack upon “Trikki” Nikki and very last week’s evaluation by Religion Information Services columnist Khyati Joshi, creator of “White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Spiritual Equality in America.”

So, then, how does Haley herself demonstrate her faith? Right here, reporters can reward from a 2012 Christianity Now job interview by Sarah Pulliam Bailey (now of The Washington Publish). Haley, who sidestepped the “evangelical” label, said, “Yes, my husband and I are Christians, but we’re not likely to say anything at all damaging about the way my parents lifted me. … We each come to feel like we have personal relationships with God that we want to keep on to reinforce for ourselves and for our spouse and children.”

Haley’s marketing campaign could anchor timely features on Sikhism, locally or nationally. This earth religion was founded by the 15th century Guru Nanak in the Punjab region of northern India. It synthesizes its have unique teachings and techniques (for illustration, men’s turbans and uncut hair) with beliefs from Islam (the 1 all-highly effective God) and Hinduism (the legislation of karma and cycle of rebirths).

An additional news url, by way of the decades: Cases involving the life and traditions of Sikh believers have played an crucial position in legal debates about religious liberty in the United States. See this Pew Research Middle essay on that issue.

Pew Investigation estimates there are 200,000 Sikhs, children involved, in the United States. In 1956, California Democrat Dalip Singh Saund grew to become the 1st Asian American in Congress and, to day, the only Sikh.

Bessie Venters

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