Nikki Haley's faith caused a stir in her primary race for governor of South Carolina when her upbringing as a Sikh drew questions from her opponents. She occasionally visits a Sikh temple in honor of her family's tradition, but she regularly attends a Methodist church. Her new book, Can't Is Not an Option, explains her conversion to Christianity and the kinds of questions she faced as the daughter of immigrants. CT spoke with Haley about her conversion, whether Mitt Romney has a "woman problem," and how her faith influences her policy.
Since you faced questions about your Christian faith and Sikh upbringing, what would you say to those who would question President Obama's faith?
We have the right to ask what faith someone follows. But what church they go into and what they do in that church doesn't matter as much as what they do when they come out. How strong is their faith, and how does that lead them into decisions going forward that will impact the states and the country? That's what I think matters the most. Yes, my husband and I are Christians, but we're not going to say anything negative about the way my parents raised me, because they reminded us every day how blessed we were to live in this country. My mother took us to every church in my hometown because she wanted me to see the many ways that people get to God and to respect all of them. She would say you can't have too much God in your life. She actually wanted us to be exposed so that we weren't judgmental, so we didn't think it was wrong. We shouldn't have to put anyone else down in order to talk positively about what we believe.1