Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii has created history by not only becoming the first Hindu ever to be sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives, but also being the first ever US lawmaker to have taken oath of office on the sacred Bhagavad Gita.
Tulsi, 31, was administered the oath of office by the John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"I chose to take the oath of office with my personal copy of the Bhagavad-Gita because its teachings have inspired me to strive to be a servant-leader, dedicating my life in the service of others and to my country," Gabbard said after the swearing in ceremony yesterday.
"My Gita has been a tremendous source of inner peace and strength through many tough challenges in life, including being in the midst of death and turmoil while serving our country in the Middle East," she said explaining the reasons for taking the oath of office on Gita.
"I was raised in a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-faith family. My mother is Hindu; my father is a Catholic lector in his church who also practices mantra meditation. I began to grapple with questions of spirituality as a teenager," Gabbard said.
"Over time, I came to believe that, at its essence, religion gives us a deeper purpose in life than just living for ourselves. Since I was a teenager, I have embraced this spiritual journey through the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita.
Okay well obviously as an Atheist, I disagree with Congresswoman Gabbard's contention that religion provides a "deeper purpose in life," but having said that I LOVE everything about this!
In my opinion it is embarrassing for America that with such a disparity within our religious communities that THIS is the first Hindu in the House. Our Representatives should be as colorful and diverse in their religious and cultural points of view as the people themselves.
One of the scariest times that this country has gone through during my lifetime was the rise of the Moral Majority. When all of the sudden there was a narrowly defined litmus test provided for choosing political candidates, or which legislation should be passed, it sent chills up and down my spine. (The name of this blog was chosen in response to that fear.)
So while I give no more credence to Congresswoman Gabbard's religious choice than I do say Mitt Romney's, Joe Lieberman's, or Michele Backmann's, I DO see it as a very important and progressive step forward for a country that needs to move away from the kind of uber religiosity that has so negatively impacted the nation for the last forty years.
May Lord Ganesha bless her and keep her safe.