Nikki’s pagan past and pious present

[UPDATE: See a fuller copy of Knott's remarks where she alleges Haley is a secret Sikh who is being elected by a cabal of Indian interests [link]]

One of the interesting differences between Jindal and Haley, two politicians with so much in common down to their Punjabi parents, is that Jindal makes his conversion central to his political identity whereas Haley does not.

1 One reason for this is color. Bobby Jindal is very clearly brown, he is married to a brown woman with a “foreign” name. He couldn’t hide his ancestry if he tried, so instead he emphasizes his conversion from the alien Hindu faith to the more familiar Catholic one.

Haley doesn’t have that burden, she’s a light skinned woman married to a white man, with a familiar sounding name. Heck, I got a number of emails last week from friends (desi and non-desi) all saying “Nicky Haley’s desi?” For her, talking about her conversion is not just unecessary, it would remind people of what’s alien about her and so it would be counter-productive.

I think this is why the attacks on her religion have been fairly tame in the past (in 2004 anonymous fliers claimed she was a Hindu but she still went on to beat the most senior member of the State House [link]) and present [link], they just have a hard time sticking, even though this is a state where anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon attacks have worked in the past [link].

2 The other reason why she doesn’t stress her conversion as much is that it doesn’t seem to have been as abrupt. Her campaign strongly stresses her Christianity today, but this was not true in 2004 and reflects a strong increase in Christian language in her campaign materials [link].

In 2004, seven years after her conversion, she was quoted as saying she attended both Methodist and Sikh services [link] and even now her spokesman will admit that “She attends Sikh services once or twice a year in respect for her family… Like millions of others, she honors her mother and her father” [link].

At the same time, her current campaign material is much more unequivocal:

Question: Is Nikki a Christian?

Truth: In Nikki’s words: “My faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life and I look to Him for guidance with every decision I make. God has blessed my family in so many ways and my faith in the Lord gives me great strength on a daily basis. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.” [link]

See? No reference to conversion in 1997, no sense of transition from a pagan past. She doesn’t have to, and in fact is secure enough that she can go to Gurdwara on ocassion to keep her parents happy and perhaps drum up some donations. At the same time, religion is enough of a vulnerability in SC that she’s fairly defensive about it. But she’s positioned herself differently from the way Jindal does.

Related links: The Brody File (CBN): Nikki Haley Reflects More Christian Tone

54 thoughts on “Nikki’s pagan past and pious present

  1. sorry, i meant identity thug. you are a bigot.

    So the reprieve was short-lived! But then res Rhett Butler to you.

    People talk about Rod Blagoveich, but is he more corrupt than a guy like Lieberman whose wife gets paid far more than she is worth on the free market by some private corporation? Same with Dodd’s corruption.

    Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Harry Reid, Mark Warner, Mary Landrieu, Jon Tester, Ben Nelson…etc., are a thoroughly compromised bunch and are the cheapest shills to be had. What a thoroughly compromised bunch these are.

  2. Do Indians have to be at least half black before they are proud of their “funny” name? Thank you Kamala Devi Harris!

    And also thank you President Barack Obama for being proud of your full name.

    “…But maybe the most interesting woman to watch is Kamala Devi Harris, the district attorney for San Francisco, whose Democratic primary win puts her on course to become the first African-American and Asian-American woman elected attorney general in California. Born to one of the first black economics professors at Stanford University and an Indian physician at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in parts of America, she has already made history. Now, Harris’ challenge is to break through one of the last glass ceilings in California…” http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-09/kamala-harris-the-female-obama-wins-primary-for-california-attorney-general/?cid=hp:mainpromo9

  3. @42 Yogi Fire

    Actually it was his father who was atheist: “Obama is a Christian whose religious views developed in his adult life. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he “was not raised in a religious household”. He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as “non-practicing Methodists and Baptists”) to be detached from religion, yet “in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known”. He describes his father as “raised a Muslim”, but a “confirmed atheist” by the time his parents met, and his stepfather as “a man who saw religion as not particularly useful”.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama#Family_and_personal_life

    Still he did not speak ill of Islam and especially not as a way to prove he was Christian no matter how much his Christian faith has been questioned by his adversaries. That is why I think he is an inspiration and not Jindal.

  4. Not exactly a shocker. Just like we predicted, Bobby Jindal’s accent is fake. I talked to some cousins who know his family. She knew Jindal’s brother very well. No one in that family had an accent remotely similar to what we hear from Jindal now.