By David Waters
Nikki Haley, the Sarah Palin-endorsed, scandal-hounded, Sikh-turned-Methodist who finished first Tuesday in a contentious South Carolina Republican primary for
Senate governor, is facing new questions about the length and depth of her commitment to Christianity.
CBN.com’s David Brody notes that Haley’s Web site has been, for lack of a more descriptive word, born-again in the past few months.
Brody notes that in April, Haley’s site said this about her faith:
“Nikki is a Christian. In her words: ‘I believe in the power and grace of Almighty God. I know, and have truly experienced, that with Him all things are possible. I have looked to Him for leadership throughout my career and will continue to do so as governor.”
Now, her site says this:
“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.'”
Haley, who was born in South Carolina and is the daughter of Indian immigrants, was raised in the Sikh tradition. Haley’s spokesman Tim Pearson assured Brody that “Nikki is a proud Christian woman. Like millions of others she found Christ early in her adult life and she has been dedicated to her Christian faith since the age of 24. She, her husband, and their two children worship at one church – Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, South Carolina.”
It’s discouraging that any American political candidate feels compelled to include in her campaign material a confession of faith. It’s especially discouraging that this particular confession is being made in South Carolina — home of Charles Pinckney, one of the Founding Fathers of religious liberty in America.
At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Pinckney, a South Carolina delegate, proposed that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Pinckney’s proposal passed with little dissent, the first time a nation “had formally abolished one of the most powerful tools of the state for oppressing religious minorities.”
Pinckney’s proposal was even more remarkable considering that South Carolina’s 1778 Constitution stated: “That the Christian religion is the true religion” and that “The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State.”
South Carolina’s Constitution has been updated since then, and most of its theocratic tendencies removed. Still, the current document says that “No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being.”
Rest assured, South Carolina voters. Neither Sikhs nor Methodists deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
David Waters’ confession of flub.
As an editor discovered (and a commenter so graciously noted), my original post said Nikki Haley was running for U.S. Senate. My bad. Given the S.C. Constitution’s faith-based requirement (see above) for governors, she obviously chose the right office. I obviously chose the right editor.