Haley's Path to Christianity Leaves Some Evangelicals Uneasy

June 15, 2010

Author: Peter Hamby

Source: CNN


Whispers about Nikki Haley's Sikh heritage burst into public view in the final days of South Carolina's Republican gubernatorial primary when state Sen. Jake Knotts called the Indian-American legislator a "raghead."

Knotts offered a pseudo-apology and was roundly condemned for the remark. Haley went on to win the primary in dominant fashion, capturing nearly 50 percent of the vote in a four-way race. She now faces Rep. Gresham Barrett in the June 22 runoff election.

But while Haley's commanding win last Tuesday proved her electoral viability - she won 42 of the state's 46 counties in the primary, including evangelical-heavy areas like Greenville and Spartanburg - it did not completely erase suspicions about her faith.

Haley was raised Sikh but converted to Christianity at the age of 24 and now attends a Methodist church in Lexington County, her campaign says.