Indian-American Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna have come out in support of Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy over an attack on his Hindu faith. At a public event, Hank Kunneman, the senior pastor of the non-denominational Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska and a televangelist targeted Ramaswamy’s faith in an attempt to prevent people from voting for him.
According to a video posted on Twitter by Right Wing Watch, Kunneman said that as a country, America is in danger. “Listen to me Generation Z, listen to me millennials, those of you who are watching that like this new young guy (Ramaswamy). If he does not serve the Lord Jesus Christ and stand primarily for Judeo-Christian principles, you will have a fight with God.
“You’re gonna have some dude put his hand on something other than the Bible? You’re gonna let him put all of his strange gods up in the White House and we’re just supposed to blink because he understands policies?” Kunneman was heard saying in the video. “Those of you that like this new young guy — if he does not serve the Lord Jesus Christ and stand primarily for Judeo-Christian principles, you will fight with God…”
Reacting to Kunneman’s disparaging comments, Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna said they don’t agree much with Ramaswamy but condemned the “bigoted remarks” against the 37-year-old.
“I don’t agree with @VivekGRamaswamy on much, but one thing is certain: all political parties in America should welcome individuals of all faiths, including Hindus. I condemn the bigoted remarks directed toward Ramaswamy, and I hope that Republican electeds and others do the same,” Krishnamoorthi tweeted on Tuesday.
“I have had spirited disagreements with @VivekGRamaswamy. But this is a disgusting and anti-American attack on his faith. We are a nation of many faiths, & the fact that so many Christian American Republicans are willing to support Vivek speaks to that ideal,” Khanna said in his tweet.
Seen as former President Donald Trump’s supporter, Kunneman calls himself a “prophet” and had said earlier that Trump’s 2020 election loss was God’s way of refuting prophets on Earth.
Ramaswamy was raised by Indian immigrants and is a practicing Hindu, which poses a dilemma for some conservative Christian voters who make up a significant share of the Republican primary electorate and are accustomed to evaluating candidates not just on their policy proposals but also on their biographies and personal beliefs, including religious faith.
“I’m not Christian. I was not raised in a Christian household. But we do share the same Christian values that this nation was founded on,” the Republican presidential hopeful had said in one of his campaign events.
In his address to prospective voters, Ramaswamy often rues that faith, patriotism, hard work and family “have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions in this country”.
In response to a query on faith at a gathering in Nashua, New Hampshire on July 11, Ramaswamy said that the US was founded on Judeo-Christian values. He clarified, “I am not running to be a pastor-in-chief. I am running to be our commander-in-chief.”