June 18th, 2010
04:57 PM ET
5 years ago

Barrett supporter questions Haley's religion

Some supporters of Nikki Haley's GOP gubernatorial runoff challenger are questioning if Haley is being straightforward about her religious beliefs.
Some supporters of Nikki Haley's GOP gubernatorial runoff challenger are questioning if Haley is being straightforward about her religious beliefs.

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - A supporter of Gresham Barrett emailed Republican activists in South Carolina on Friday questioning whether Nikki Haley, Barrett's opponent in the GOP gubernatorial runoff, is being straightforward about her religious beliefs.

Haley was raised Sikh but became a Methodist at the age of 24.

The email, circulated by Pickens County GOP chairman Phillip Bowers, was provided to CNN by a Haley supporter.

Pickens County is in the heart of the South Carolina upstate, where most of the state's evangelical population resides. Barrett also hails from the region and is relying on heavy turnout from his home base in the June 22 runoff.

Bowers provided links to two articles about Haley's religious background, and noted: "There seems to be something strange going on here."

"Haley can't seem to make up her mind about her faith," wrote Bowers, who is Barrett's Pickens County campaign chairman.

One of the articles he linked to – a piece from the Christian Broadcasting Network – examined why Haley has appeared to downplay her Sikh heritage in the governor's race.

"Haley can't seem to make up her mind about her faith," Bowers wrote. "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."

He concluded: "Again, I'm not questioning her faith, but I absolutely can't stand a liar."

The Barrett campaign, which earlier this week circulated a CNN article about Haley's faith, denied having anything to do with the email.

"Our campaign is focused on the issues that matter to South Carolina voters, like Representative Haley's failure to disclose her income from a company involved with numerous state government contracts," said Barrett spokesman Robert Hughes.

Haley disclosed Friday that she was paid $2,000 in 2008 to do consulting work for an engineering firm in her home county, income that was not previously disclosed on her official state ethics filings.


Filed under: 2010 • Gresham Barrett • Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Independent

    Why does religion always an issue with politics. There is no GOD!!! It's a myth and the bible is a nice book of fables.

    June 18, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Judy

    Republicans like militaristic imperialism and now also religious imperialism. Like the Taliban in the Middle East they are out to destroy America and make it a corporate theocracy.

    June 18, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. tim

    It's interesting to see how Haley's supporters react to this. I also wonder how many of her supporters question whether or not Obama was "really" a Muslim.

    It's clear that the only acceptible religion of the Republican party is Christian. A very tolerant group, that bunch.

    June 18, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    Did they also ask for a birth certificate? I can only hope this let's the GOP see how they sound to us.

    June 18, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Tom B

    Since when is a person's religious beliefs or religious affiliation a qualification for or against holding an elected public office? What we should do is is test the candidate's grasp of important issues. Even with a long-tail bell curve, Barrett might not make the grade. Can we please trade South Carolina for Slovenia and a country to be named later?

    June 18, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. Tony in Maine

    I can't understand how SC is listed along with Iowa as must win in the road to becoming a candidate. SC politics is about as down, dirty and just plain crazy as anywhere in the world – not the US, the world. These peoples' eyeballs spin.

    I don't like Haley's ideology, but she won. She is the Republican candidate. It shouldn't matter if she's Sikh or snake tosser.

    I don't like Greene as a candidate. I think he's a ringer, the result of a dirty trick in a state that spawned dirty tricks. But he won and the Democratic Party needs to accept that.

    June 18, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Indiana Voter

    It's funny that Democrats accuse Republicans of being racist, angry, mean, intolerant, and many more names, but then turn around and do the same thing that they are accusing them of.

    And Darth Vadik, CA, says:, "You Republicans are really like scared little kids, anything slightly different than yourself scares the heck out of you." However, there are plenty of Democrats that are acting like little scared kids because Republicans are different from them, so what is your point? You being one of them acting that way.

    June 18, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Living just across the river from upstate SC, and having grown up in upstate SC, I think that I can understand why Barrett's people are doing this. The people over there (and here also) have preconceived ideas of what a good Christian looks like and how a good Christian thinks. Obviously Nikki doesn't meet one of those ideals, and therefore the right-wing of the GOP thinks that they can scare SC's Republicans into voting against someone who doesn't fit their picture of a good Christian. This is also why so many homes still have pictures of a blue-eyed Jesus hanging in their living rooms.

    June 18, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    Steve (the real one),

    You so smart....did you come up with that all by yourself?
    People may be upset with the Democrats, but they loathe the Republiklans even more. Don't count you chickens just yet, LOL

    That drill baby drill chant won't help either, but that is what happens when you are on the wrong side of issues all the time, they come back to bite your behind.

    June 18, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Bill, Florida

    I'm surprised they're not saying that you have to be Southun Bayaptist to govern South Carolina. After all Southun Bayaptist is gonna rule heaven. They's gonna have a mountain of tater salad, an pasture of pork-n-beans, a country full of fried chicken and an ocean of sweeeeeeeeeeet iced tea. That's Southun Bayaptist heaven for ye, and they ain't gonna be no Methodist or Episcopals there. They's gonna be left outside knockin' on the door and ain't no Southun Bayaptist gonna be around no mo to open the door.

    June 18, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. MP

    It is stupid to say "There is no GOD!!! It's a myth and the bible is a nice book of fables."

    June 18, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. keithincanada

    one's faith should not be a point of importance in an election anymore than one's colour or gender. Time to leave the 20th and join the 21st century America.

    June 18, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. NVa Native

    If the Repubs had only Christians to attack they'd find some that weren't quite "right enough" to persecute. They have to have someone to demonize or how else will they keep their wimpy followers afraid and in line?

    June 18, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Darth Vadik, CA

    Indiana Voter,

    My days of turning the other cheek are done, you run your mouth and ruin my country, you will get a drop kick from me, not my other cheek, as your dear leader said:

    "fool me once.....shame ..on..you,....fool me....you cant get fooled again..."

    June 18, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Bill, Florida

    I'm surprised they're not saying that you have to be Southun Bayaptist to govun South Caylina. After all Southun Bayaptist is gonna rule hayivun. They's gonna have a mountain of tater salad, a pasture of pork-n-beans, a country side full of fried chicken and an ocean of sweeeeeeeeeeet iced tea. It's gonna be like callin' in the sows for slop. That's Southun Bayaptist heaven for ye, and they ain't gonna be no Methodist or Episcopals there. They's gonna be left outside knockin' on the door and ain't no Southun Bayaptist gonna be around no mo to open the door. So, why can't Southun Bayaptist govun South Caylina? They gonna rule hayivun.

    June 18, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    Indiana Voter,

    I know why I dislike you, look what you did to my country and my fellow Marines with a dumb war, but you cant tell me why Republicans hate anything that is different than them other than fear.

    June 18, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Wisconsinite

    Why should anyone care what religion she is anyway???!!! I tell you, the GOP just gets more and more bigoted and ignorant every single day!

    June 18, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Balford

    Liberals love to hate God which is their right. As a conservative I could care less about your religion. This is all a fabrication of the loony liberal "i hate god" crowd. Good for them I am sure he hates them right back.

    June 18, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "However, there are plenty of Democrats that are acting like little scared kids because Republicans are different from them, so what is your point?"

    It's not that Republicans are different. It's that they're WRONG. They are ideologue coporate wh-res who fabricate misinformation campaigns to scare and anger the under-educated and trusting portion of the public to grease their path to power. It's disgusting and about as undemocratic as it gets because a well-informed, well-educated populace makes better decisions about what lies in its best interest than one that is running around pulling its hair out because of "death panels" and because reality won't obey their ideological mumbo-jumbo about how they'd prefer the world to work.

    June 18, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. chelle

    Why does anyone care??? What difference does it make whether she is Sikh, Christian, Buddist, or a Druid???

    ONLY IN AMERICA!!!! Land of the free...but only for some

    June 18, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Seriously

    Really, who cares? Our politicians *SHOULD* be elected based on their positions on ISSUES.

    I don't care if she was muslim, christian, sikh or none its her position on domestic and foreign policies that matter to me. Whoever tries to interject religion is about as small minded as those who tried to make Obama's middle name a big issue.

    June 18, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. chelle

    Hey Indiana Voter – it is her fellow Republicans doing this, not the Democrats. READ the article.

    June 18, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "So how does this work? If you belong to the Sikh faith – or any faith other than Christianity you're not good enough to run for office?"

    Bingo. If you ask them, they'd agree and tell you this is a "krischun nashun."

    Little known secret: The Pope's funny hat is made of tinfoil.

    June 18, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Ivan

    Why does her religion matter?? I know WHY it does, because its a move the GOP and far right wing of the party has been doing for decades but at what point do we move beyond this? Someone's religious beliefs arent the BE ALL and END ALL of how a person will govern or legislate, it may pay a part in specific social issues but with the country in economic trouble the way it is I'd let an Atheist fix it if they proved to be the best candidate for the job. America needs to move beyond this we are a nation based on RELIGOUS FREEDOM NOT CHRISTIANITY ONLY!!

    June 18, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Harry Baxter

    There's a reason why separation of Church and State is the law of the land. It's to prevent arguments like this. As a Democrat, I wouldn't vote for her anyway, but it wouldn't be because of her religion.

    June 18, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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