First Hindu in U.S. Congress

There was some amazing news recently here in America.  There have been a lot of firsts in politics in the last few years and this is one I am very excited about. Hawaii elected a Hindu into congress for the first time ever. Not only a Hindu, but a female Hindu.

Tulsi Gabbard took oath by swearing in on the Bhagavad Gita.

Her father is Catholic (though Wikipedia says he enjoys singing kirtan) and her mother is Hindu, but here’s the twist: her mother isn’t Indian. Gabbard is a non-Indian Hindu!

There are a lot of things that I appreciate about being an American. I am proud of my country when I see diversity like this. There are a lot of Americans who see this as a “Christian nation” but it is not. There are a lot of Christians, but those of us who are not still have a place and a voice.

 ‘It is clear that there needs to be a closer working relationship between the United States and India. How can we have a close relationship if decision-makers in Washington know very little, if anything, about the religious beliefs, values, and practices of India’s 800 million Hindus?’ Ms Gabbard asked, according to the Religion News Service news agency.

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This article also mentions Gabbard’s use of her faith while she was deployed in Iraq as well as how she hopes to be an example for young Hindu Americans.

I like to see religion and politics separated as much as possible, but this news makes me happy.

What do you think? Is it relevant to her work that Gabbard is a Hindu?

The Relief of Fitting In
Missed Pongol This Year
My Future Pilgrimages
Scripture Study: Bhagavad Gita, book two verses 31-34
About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Pratheesh

    There is nothing called practicing Hindu.a person can be remained as a Hindu without going to temple or having belief in polytheism.because Sanathana Dharma(commonly termed as Hinduism) accepts monotheism,polytheism,idol worship and also accepts atheism.
    Rishi Charvaka who is revered by Hindus was an everybody has a place in Sanathana gives an individual the liberty to decide his way to attain moksha.
    Also God fearing has no place in Hinduism instead prefer God Loving.

    • Ambaa

      I totally agree!

  • indian

    in hinduism not everyone has to read & have a literal understanding of religious texts.
    every varna has its role defined. ppl of brahmin varna (knowledge pursuers-knowledge is considered spiritual) or any person with a quest for religious knowledge should also be ready to follow the strings attached(all satvic things etc) with the life of a student learning hindu text.

    If u don’t live by the lessons learnt in those books its a waste. because if u just read it just to enjoy the philosophy & to boast about it it makes no sense, in a way its an insult to the knowledge if an apatr(अपात्र) reads it because his reading or learning it from guru would be waste of time.(its like when a guy without knowledge & expertise in basic arithmetic tries to learn calculus)

  • Drekfletch

    Mostly yes. Religion shapes who we are and what we believe the best course is, so it’s impossible to totally separate religion from politics. I think it’s only an issue when one group tries to illegalize the actions supported by the beliefs of others.

    She’s a representative of her state, and to a lesser extent, the country. And there are a lot of people who’s groups are not represented, now two groups less. I also kind of like the fact that it’s the media that’s hyping her Hinduism, and not her herself.

  • Melisa (Meenakshi) Coto

    Thanks for remembering to mention her military service! The reaction I’ve received over the years from those who learn I’m Hindu and served in the military is usually quite negative. This has made me feel especially close to Congresswoman Gabbard.