Tulsi Gabbard is running for President. She is a devotee of Gaudiya Vaishnava Hinduism. Her father is half-Samoan, and due to her dark looks and Hindu religion, she is often assumed to be South Asian. And, she does have connections to South Asian culture through her religious affinities.
That being said, I assume this is a way for her to increase her profile more than a plausible chance to win the Presidency (though I think the same was true of Trump!). Gabbard is a somewhat heterodox Democrat who strikes a Left pose, but her background in her youth was in social conservatism, and the truth is that aside from some oddballs there’s not much light between different factions in the Democratic party in 2018. For this, and other reasons, she is under fire from the usual pundit-class commissars who punish deviationism.
But what I’m curious about the attacks that are made on her religion:
TIL Tulsi Gabbard is
-a former anti-gay activist who still calls homosexuality a "lifestyle"
-part of a breakaway Hare Krishna cult
-a hardcore Assad defender
-a supporter of anti-pluralist Hindu nationalism in Indiahttps://t.co/UMWnbmRBzo
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) December 17, 2017
The idea that Gabbard is a cultist probably comes from a piece in The New Yorker, The making of a charismatic, unorthodox Democrat.
Since I’m not on the Left, I don’t care/know about all the internecine conflicts/moves that define these sort of coordinated couterattacks. But it’s really interesting to me that unless you are a very liberal cultural Hindu, it’s open season from certain quarters of the Left. In a way, this is similar to Christianity, but not Islam, where conservatively devout individuals are acceptable so long as they keep their social views on the down-low.
(I have a friend who is Gaudiya Vaishnava who has to explain to her Hindu American friends that not all Hindu Americans are pantheist/Deists who are OK with beef-eating. She is, by the way, a very liberal Democrat)
Note: Kamala Harris is a Baptist, but her mother was an Iyer.