After the recent GOP debates, Vivek Ramaswamy was a bull-in-the-China-shop, smashing through issues that the more cautious and mainstream Republicans would not dare to broach. CNN even called him a liar, bringing media sanctimony to a new height of hypocrisy. And Fox News avows that they can identify exactly what makes Ramaswamy so annoying.
How about telling the truth that no one else has the gumption to say?
He called Nikki Haley a neo-con, a corrupt paper diplomat who made millions through foreign defense contracts. She was caught like a deer in the headlights when he accused her of not even knowing the names of the provinces in Ukraine where she wants to send American equipment and soldiers. He accused her of being worse at wielding identity politics than Kamela Harris. “Just because you have two X chromosomes does not make you immune to criticism.”
He called climate change a religious cult; a phony hoax that will prove worse than Covid. And he correctly said that he is the only candidate on that stage who would state, flat-out, that January 6 was an inside job and that the 2020 election was stolen.
Further, he said that the 2016 election was, in a way, stolen from Trump because of the CNN-and MSM-promoted Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
He was no Trump cheerleader, but defended the incomplete efforts Trump made at draining the swamp. And he accused DeSantis of glad-handing Trump’s endorsement for governor when he was still president.
Vivek Ramaswamy is a Hindu, of the Brahmin caste. However, he was educated in the Catholic Jesuit high school of Francis Xavier in Cincinnati, and was valedictorian. There are two types of Jesuit schools: liberal ones and faithful ones. The Cincy school is a faithful one. VGR likely got his clear thinking and common sense from there, as well as from an evangelical music teacher, who steered him into conservative thinking.
Both Al Smith in 1928 and John Kennedy in 1960 were asked if they would bring their Catholic religion to the presidency. Smith gave the best answer: that he lived his faith and its moral values, and yes, they would be part of his actions as president.
In 2016, the Catholic World Report wrote:
[Smith] confronted the bigotry head-on. Calling the constitutional prohibition of a religious test for public office a “vital principle” of the American system, Smith said he knew of “no greater disaster to this country than to have the voters…divide upon religious lines.”
He fought back against his anti-Catholic critics, Smith said, “not only because I am a good Christian but because I am a good American.”
In September of 1960 another Catholic presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, traveled to Houston to deliver a rebuttal to an audience of Protestant ministers. Kennedy declared that as president he wouldn’t let religion affect how he did his job, thus giving voice to the separation of faith from life has been called “one of the gravest errors of our time.”
Kennedy opened a door through which other self-identified Catholic politicians have rushed, supporting things like abortion and same-sex marriage. Which is one reason why it’s worth recalling a better model: a Happy Warrior named Al Smith.
But Ramaswamy needs to be asked a seemingly impertinent question. Few people understand the complexities of Hinduism: a bewildering number of gods and goddesses, some of which are frightening, others animal-like in their temple manifestations. Then there are their holy scriptures, a collection of eons of thought from polytheistic gurus, some of them profound and some incomprehensible. Christian historian Warren Carroll wrote that Hinduism is like swimming through a brilliant and colorful tropical coral reef, with amazing colors and dazzling anemones and fishes … and yet having hideous monsters and sinister eels lying in ambush.
Then there is Brahma, apparently the chief of the gods, whom many Hindus liken to the God of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Hinduism is pretty free about how many gods its adherents wish to worship.
But the overarching principle of Hinduism, which most people do know, is reincarnation. Unlike Buddhism, which offered the chance to short-cut your way to Nirvana at any given stage of the endless steps of reincarnation, Hinduism believes that the Brahmin Caste, to which Ramaswamy belongs, is on the cusp of spiritual perfection and an end of the reincarnation cycle.
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What does this have to do with the American presidency? That’s easy. Religion is far more important than politics. It is a guide to the inner workings of a soul. Ramaswamy needs to give us either a Smith or a Kennedy answer. Hinduism does accept the Natural Law of right and wrong, otherwise there would be no consequences to their system of reward or punishment into the next reincarnation. I would like to hear what he says about his Hindu faith, his Jesuit education, his understanding of right and wrong – and how many gods within the Hindu parade of deities he has selected to worship.
For there is only one God. All others are false, imaginary, or imposters.
A person who believes in reincarnation might – or might not – be very casual about the existence of another human being. Hinduism, in many circles, is known to be quite indifferent about human life because, well, we’re all coming back in some form anyway, and karma will determine how. Yet VGR is unquestionably welded to prolife principles. Was this from Hinduism or Christianity?
Inquiring minds need to know.
I do not expect a perfect man to ever be president. I only want to know if I can vote for him.
The views expressed here are those of the author.