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Nikki Haley, front-runner for the Republican nomination in South Carolina governor's race and a convert to Christianity, faces questions and doubts from some evangelical Christians about her religion.

Haley's South Asian heritage had raised headlines earlier, after Sen. Jake Knotts had called her a "raghead." After local Republican Party officials censured him, Knotts apologized, but resisted calls to resign.

Knotts is now questioning Haley's Christian credentials. "Have you ever asked her if she believes in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and that he died on the cross for her sins?" he asked a reporter from WIS-TV.

Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, Nikki Haley converted from Sikhism to Christianity when she was 24, before marrying her husband. The couple were married in two separate ceremonies, one Sikh and one Christian. In 2004, she told the Charlotte Observer that her family attends "both" Sikh and Christian services.  Since then, she has emphasized her Christianity.

"She claims to be a Christian but also attends a Sikh temple and was married in a Sikh ceremony, so a lot of people can't figure how you can claim both," aid Ray Popham, pastor of Oasis Church International in Aiken, SC. "I think she needs to be straight up with people, if she is both. If she believes that you can be both, then she should say that up front."

Tony Beam, host of the radio show "Christian Worldview Today" and a Christian pastor who supports Haley's opponent in the race, questioned Haley's Christianity on his program.  "Once you commit to Christianity, it excludes other religions. I am not saying she is not who she says she is, but I do know those questions are being raised."

Haley's campaign has updated her website to confront these charges. After some people complained that her faith in "the power and grace of Almighty God" left it open which "God" she believed in, her website was changed to emphasize her specific "faith in Christ."

Haley has confronted similar attacks in the past. In 2004, her opponent Rep. Larry Koon mailed voters a letter pointing out her full Indian maiden name. An email campaign also falsely called Haley a Buddhist, and in some messages a Muslim.

5 Comments

Gustavo Gutierrez

June 27th

KS, What does her religious beliefs have to do with holding public office and her sense of national patriotism?


KS

June 27th

If she is not loyal to her previous religion, do you think she will be loyal to country? She converted at the age of 24 and now shying away from her past roots. She is hippocratic. Do not trust her. I wouldn't...


Nakki Nair

June 26th

Shes a hypocrite of course...her attempt to wipe away her past and her upbringing and her roots and not to mention the religion she was raised in says a lot about what kind of a woman she is. She is doing it all for the votes. If she had some back bone shed make it clear. She doesnt want to lose the ethnic sikh and hindu votes probably and also wants to appeal to the christian majority. Her parents must be so ashamed bout raising such a two faced hypocrite. Besides wats the big deal about religion ? Richard Gere is a buddhist. Did that prevent him from being a successful movie star. Id say good riddance dear sikh brothers who are peeved by her putting down the sikh faith and to the bigoted christians id say..show some tolerance and learn to think for urself rather than mugging up wats in religious texts....its all man made u idiots. Islam and christianity are the most intolerant of all faiths out there for sure.


Mike

June 23rd

John Chapter 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own (the Jews), but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. -In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Seek and you shall find.


danielle

June 22nd

It's depressing to me that this woman has felt a need to be ashamed of her upbringing to the extent that she's had to try to sweep her Sikh background under the rug. The Sikh religion is beautiful and affirms all faiths. If indeed she has decided to adhere to the strictures of Christianity (especially as some of the more fundamentalist followers see it), even though the Sikh faith views God as one (no matter what name you've assigned to Him), she may have to cut herself off from her family's faith entirely if she wants to silence the controversy. It will be interesting to see what matters more for her... what is in her heart or her career options in South Carolina.






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