Washington Post Staff Writer Amy Gardner has published a piece titled More unseemliness emerges in S.C. race in which she discusses the “whispering campaign going on in South Carolina this week.”
Some of Haley’s critics–including at least one county GOP chairman and two pastors–are questioning whether the candidate, a first-generation Indian-American who was raised in the Sikh tradition, is really a Christian, as she says she is. It’s a touchy topic for South Carolina, where race, religion and negative campaign tactics have a long, uncomfortable history in politics. It’s also touchy for Republicans, who are trying to get past their image among many Americans that theirs is the less tolerant party.
Haley says she converted to Methodism at age 24. She, her husband, Michael, and their two children attend Mount Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington.
But in speeches and e-mail campaigns, the detractors, who include a state lawmaker a local Republican official and at least two local pastors who are supporting Haley’s opponent, are spreading the view that Haley is concealing her true faith. They recall that six years ago, she was recognized in an Indian newspaper as the first Sikh elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. They note that when she ran for the legislature in 2004 she described her marriage in a Methodist church but omitted the fact that she and her husband also participated in a Sikh wedding ceremony, and that she continues to attend Sikh services with her family a few times a year. They point to changes on her campaign Web site, which they claim is evidence that she is trying to reposition herself a strong Christian: Earlier this year, before she became well known as a candidate, the site made reference to “God Almighty.” That has now been changed to “Christ.”
I’m familiar with married couples of different cultures. Even though one of the pair might have long converted to their spouses faith, dual wedding ceremonies are a way to express their marriage in their shared faith and paying homage to the parents and of the faith and culture in which one was reared.
Unlike some candidates, Nikki Haley doesn’t wear her religion on her sleeve, shoving it in the faces of voters and using it as a campaign tool. I believe the initial reference to “God Almighty” was a semantic choice and not political subterfuge. Changing it was, I suspect, an editorial decision to clarify her intentions to those judgemental (or, just “mental”) fools who have to have every thing explained to them. Unfortunately, one can’t write on the internet in crayon, so these elucidations are necessary for the intellectually deficient.
Speaking of judgemental fools …
“Haley can’t seem to make up her mind about her faith,” said Phillip Bowers, chairman of the Pickens County GOP, in an e-mail to local Republicans this week. Reached by telephone Friday, Bowers said: “It finally got to the point where I ought to let the party know about the inconsistencies in the story.”
Pastor Ray Popham of Oasis Church International in Aiken told CNN: “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.”
And Tony Beam, an interim pastor at Mount Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, asked listeners on his radio program recently: “Is Nikki Haley being honest about her faith?
“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”
Sorry. These thing pop into my head every once in a while.
Anyway – what these buffoons fail to realize, understand or acknowledge is that Haley isn’t trying to be both a Sikh and a Methodist. She’s a Methodist who honors her heritage and her parents.
Wait… honor her parents ……..
“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Where have I read that? Ohhhhhhh… it’s on the tip of my brain…
Meh… sounds Jewish.
Which reminds me…
South Carolina has a long, bitter history of racial and religious smears in campaigns. In 1978, the future Republican governor, Carroll Campbell, targeted Democrat Max Heller, who was Jewish, with a push-poll that asked: “Would you vote for a Jew who did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?”
Of course, these philistines are in good company.
State Sen. “Jakie” Knotts, who became infamous earlier this month for referring to Haley as a “raghead,” asked this question in a local television interview: “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? Have you ever asked her that?”
And, bless his heart, along comes Attorney General Henry McMaster:
This is the sad truth in politics: If you want to really make something stick on somebody, you make it very negative and you whisper it. That’s what’s happening to Nikki right now. There’s no basis for it. There’s no reason for it. It’s politics at its worst. I wish we could eliminate it from the scene, and I hope that voters will understand that that’s what’s going on.
Kudos to the Attorney General.
Try as they may, these cultural neanderthals don’t seem to be making much headway in destroying a candidate that wants to pull South Carolina out of the backwoods of civilization and into the modern world.
As Attorney General McMaster said in the Washington Post article:
[Nikki Haley] represents a conservative movement, a fresh, strong, energetic, positive, conservative movement. The [primary] results were remarkable. There’s a new day dawning for South Carolina. We have an opportunity to be an example for the rest of the country.