Nikki Haley is a former governor of South Carolina, whose political career went through many ups and downs over the years. She was the first female Indian-American governor elected in the US, and many people wondered what does this say about her religious beliefs.
Nikki Haley is a Christian and attends the United Methodist Church with her family. She was raised in the Sikh faith but converted to Christianity in the late ‘90s. It’s been reported that Haley still occasionally attends Sikh services out of respect for her parents.
Nikki Haley’s Upbringing
Nikki Haley was born as Nimrata Randhawa and grew up in an Indian Punjabi American Sikh family. Her parents moved from India to Canada in the ‘60s and relocated to the US after her father Ajit Singh Randhawa received his Ph.D. degree.
They settled in the small town of Bamberg, South Carolina, where Haley was born. Her father accepted a position as a professor at Voorhees College, while her mother Raj Kaur Randhawa worked in the public school system before starting her clothing company, Exotica International.
Haley became interested in bookkeeping while helping her mother with her store, and later pursued a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Clemson University. She credited her parents for raising her and her siblings to “be strong” and excel at their job.
“Every position that I have ever had, people have assumed that I’m looking towards something bigger when in reality I’m the daughter of Indian parents who said to me ‘Whatever you do be great at it and make sure people remember you for it.’ That is all I am trying to do,” said Haley.
Haley’s Political Career
Nikki Haley kicked off her political career when she ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004. She managed to win, becoming the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina, and stayed on this position for three terms.
In 2010, she became the first female governor of South Carolina and was re-elected for the second term in 2014. All eyes were on Heely in 2015, after she called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting.
She was included on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2016, and Donald Trump announced his plans to appoint her as the US ambassador to the United Nations a few months later.
Haley was sworn in shortly after Trump’s presidential inauguration and resigned as the governor of South Carolina. She left her position as the ambassador by the end of 2018, shortly after being accused of accepting luxury private flights from South Carolina businessmen and GOP donors.
Haley’s Religious Views
Women of color are a true rarity in the Republican Party, and that’s why some voters didn’t know what to make of Nikki Haley. Certain aspects of her personal life were constantly under scrutiny, including her religious affiliations.
Haley was raised in the Sikh faith but converted to Christianity shortly after tying the knot to Michael Haley in 1996. They wed in two ceremonies – one Sikh and the other Methodist – but she now describes herself as “a proud Christian woman” and attends the United Methodist Church with her husband and children.
The former South Carolina governor didn’t change her name to Nikki to appeal to voters – her family always used this nickname and it means “Little One” in Punjabi. She still attends Sikh services once or twice a year out of respect for her parents but doesn’t expect them to convert to Christianity the same way she did.“What I hope is that my parents do what’s right for them… 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,” Haley told Christianity Today.