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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nikki Haley S.C. Guberatorial Opponent Gets Religion

By Rick Pearcey • June 19, 2010, 11:54 AM

Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller:

Is Nikki Haley’s primary run-off opponent in the South Carolina gubernatorial race subtly using her religious background to try to alienate the Indian-American candidate born with the name “Nimrata Randhawa” from conservative voters?

Her opponent, Rep. Gresham Barrett, has been vocal about his deep Christian faith. Haley -- although a baptized Methodist -- was raised by Sikh parents, but converted to Christianity when she was 24.

One well-known Republican in the state thinks so, noting that Barrett’s last campaign commercial was about his faith. “You’re running for governor, not pastor,” the Republican said dismissively of Barrett.

Phillip Bowers, co-chairman of Barrett’s campaign, circulated an e-mail Friday afternoon suggesting Haley has lied about her religion. “There are lots of contradictions to her story. It’s not my place to question her faith, but I do question her honesty. If anyone finds the truth, please let me know,” said Bowers, in an email obtained by The Daily Caller.

A few quick points:

1. There is nothing untoward in evaluating a person's religion. If religion is important to a candidate for office, and if religion influences a candidate, then it seems proper to ask questions about the religion of a candidate. Of course, the questions ought to be relevant and not just a matter of: "Oh, my, she has a different religion."

2. Saying someone is "running for governor, not pastor" is no excuse for not having to answer questions about one's religion. Presumably, one's religious views are held in good faith because one thinks them true and applicable to the real world. Otherwise, why bother? But if this is so, go ahead and answer questions that are relevant to the job for which your are applying, whether it be governor or dog catcher.

3. Not your place to "question her faith"? Nonsense. All "faiths" should be open to question and possible falsification, if you wish their application to the real world. These faiths include faith in science, government, education, various ideologies, political passions, wooly activism, and so on. And, of course, religion.

If you are a human being, you therefore question, for questioning is part of the equipment the Creator has endowed upon each of us to protect us from nonsense masquerading as true science, healthy politics, sound religion, and "I'm from Washington and I'm here to help."