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

Barrett supporter questions Haley's religion

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/art.nikki.haley.youtube.jpg caption ="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. Kelly

    I wonder if Nikki Haley has some understanding of what it must feel like to be President Obama. Her own side is ganging up on her the way her own side tried to misinform the public about President Obama. Politics is a mean and hateful business and I do not know how these people sleep at night.

    June 18, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Matt

    Who cares what religion she belongs to?

    June 18, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Indiana Voter --- June 18th, 2010 5:49 pm ET

    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.

    What are you talking about?

    Are you an idiot.......or just too uninformed to know that Gresham Barrett is a Republican?

    June 18, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Peter

    Steve (the real one) June 18th, 2010 5:36 pm ET

    There is a very simple answer to all of this; Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.
    It is a simplel answer;

    Vote No in NOvember to the party of (in my best Homer Simpson Impression) Dooh! In other words, bye bye liberals!

    Now to the story at hand. The lady said she was a Christian. Leave it at that! I though only God could look into a human soul!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>HAHAHAHAHA nice try....the Republicans are in for a whipping in Nov!!! the wool got ripped off my eye yesterday with the hearing im sorry for Republicans lets end their mind games this NOV!!!

    June 18, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. SJ in California

    I don't think this is a conservative thing or a liberal thing. I think it's a South Carolina thing. That may be an over-generalization, but there are so many examples of this odd behavior there, from both parties...

    June 18, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Firmindependent

    Indiana Voter – You do realize that Barrett is a Republican, don't you? Your post makes no sense. Barrett only confirms what Darth Vadik said. You should read a little more closely before you point the finger across the aisle.

    Republicans in S.C. pulled the same crap during the primary season with Bush and McCain by spreading rumors that McCain had a secret black daughter. Hmm. They must've had him confused with Strom Thurmond, yet another "family values" candidate S.C. can be proud of.

    June 18, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. MAC

    You do not have to be a born American Citizen to be Governer, only the President. I see you probaly flunked Civics in High School or went to a liberal school where they teach socialism/communism instead of US Government!

    June 18, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Apparently Haley having repeatedly said she was a Christian, after all her statements praising Jesus Christ, is not good enough for republicans. They won't believe you're Christian enough unless you're a white male as well.

    June 18, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    @Indiana Voter you missed the entire point of the article. It is a fellow REPUBLICAN circulating these racist rumors. Barrett is the republican opponent to Haley in the primary runoff.

    June 18, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. John

    I don't see what the issue is. Republicans worship money.

    June 18, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Kevin Collins

    Who the hell *cares* about her religious beliefs? Good gracious. I think it's pretty distasteful to use the subject of religion as a political wedge.

    June 18, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. FlexSF

    Who cares? South Cackalacka sucks. It's a bible thumping, republican red neck rivera. Fly over it!

    June 18, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Chris

    WOW, more witch hunting from the religious whack-o's. Who would want to be supported by these cave-dwelling slack-jawed idiots... If she was a "Sith" (Star Wars, not a misspelling) I could see the worry but rather than be tolerant of anything they want to condemn. Those people deserve everything that's happening to them...

    June 18, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. denis

    how long must we have changed religions in order to satisfy politicians? 10 yrs, 20 yrs, 30 yrs? i am a lutheran, but i have been in a catholic church for 32 yrs as my wife and kids are catholic and i agreed to this before my marriage. and have gone along since. what has happened to our sociaty where we have lost our religious tolerance? is it because she was Sikh? because she was mid-eastern? is the politico aquating Sikh w/radical islam? what?

    June 18, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. rdepontb

    How about the whole state of South Carolina go on ahead and leave with Rep Joe Barton from Texas? He doesn't want to live in a country like ours; it sounds like most of you folks don't like it here much either.

    Don't let the gate hit you on the way out.

    June 18, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Luke Brown

    She says she became a Methodist at 24, but its not clear if she was ever baptised or just started going with her husband while also attending Sikh services. When she was elected to the legislature at age 32, she made a big deal about being the first Sikh woman elected in SC.

    Bottom line is that she is Sikh when it is convenient and Christian when it is convenient.

    She is very much a part of the good ole boy network in SC. She says she wants to take back the government for the people ... but her party IS the government and she is already part of its leadership. She's just a slick and sneaky as the rest of them.

    June 18, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Hendrik

    You religious fruitcakes. This has nothing to do with religion and everything with some stupid soundbites from the rabid right. How people of true faith who care about their neighbors can continue to fall for this nonsense. Christians are creepy people. Especially the fundamentalist types.

    June 18, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. bobcat1a

    The Constitution says there shall be no religious test to hold federal office. If these rightwing fundamentalists are so in love with the Constitution, why can't they revere this part of it as well.

    June 18, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Tancy

    What different are we from the Middle East if all we want is Christians to hold all the offices? Cheers to all those who say – all we care about is her stance on policies and issues. And that should be true, not just for Nikki, but for all the candidates on both sides of the aisle. Religion is only a person's personal belief, and as long as the person does not let it come in the way of his or her public duties, it should be a no issue. You bring religion or race – either one – in politics and you have a disaster of epic proportions. Because then, all politicians will go the route of appeasing the minority, because they are the vote-turners; and you have a perfectly chaotic political arena. Before proving me wrong here – just look at India and its politics and how they have fallen into a messy political blackhole.

    June 18, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. chris

    @ Indiana Voter:
    I'm not sure I'm getting your point on this. You wrote: "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."
    Are you aware that Gresham Barrett is also a Republican and that he is Nikki Haley's opponent in the upcoming GOP gubernatorial runoff? This appears to be a completely Republican issue, without a Democrat in sight.

    June 18, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. 60s survivor

    more ridiculous mud slinging. and she is much the same. I so want a democrat for gov. but chances are. very slim. what a disastrous state. there is no democracy here. they bully and lie too much such a shame. and such a sham

    June 18, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. David Scott

    She could be a terrorists like Obama. Have rip-publicans really checked her out?

    June 18, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. David Scott

    the GOP are PIGS

    June 18, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Fed up in SC

    The issue is NOT Ms. Haley's faith. The issue is that she hasnt been HONEST. I realize that not every word uttered by our politicians is always true but it would be extremely irresponsible for the voters to elect someone who is dishonest about the basis of their entire campaign.

    June 18, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. Debbie

    Her religion does not matter. If someone decides they don't want to vote for someone because of their relgion that is ok too. My caution would be to those who are Christians deciding and defining who/what a Christian is and taking free will gift and judgement away from God.

    June 18, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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