The faith of US Senator Kamala Harris has come under increased interest after former vice president Joe Biden selected her as his running mate for the 2020 presidential election last week.
Harris, the former Attorney General of California, grew up in a joint Christian and Hindu home and spent her childhood attending both a Baptist church and a Hindu temple. However, despite her faith background, the senator has come under fire for being anti-Christian after a social media user accused her of refusing to swear on the Bible during her political career.
"Kamala Harris refused to be sworn in using the Bible.....," read the post, which has been shared widely on Facebook.
Despite this claim, archive C-Span footage clearly shows Harris placing her hand on a Bible during her swearing-in ceremony to the Senate in 2017. During the event, her husband Doug Emhoff personally held up the "long-kept family Bible" for his wife's to be sworn in on and Joe Biden himself administered the Oath of Office.
As Harris prepared to be sworn in, she commented that the Bible was "well-worn", with Biden replying "all right, that's a good way to do it".
Biden continued: "Put your left hand on the Bible and raise your right".
During her campaign for the 2020 presidential nomination, Harris invoked her faith on several occasions. "Jesus tells us how we should define neighbour," she said during a speech in August last year. "Jesus tells us, your neighbour is not just the person who lives next door, who drives the kind of car you drive, the person shares your zip code.
"Jesus tells us your neighbour is that man by the side of the road who you walk by, who has faced hardship".
Harris regularly attends services at the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, with the church's pastor, Rev. Amos Brown, telling the Associated Press she is "a spiritual person" and "a quintessential scholar".
Some conservative Christian critics of Harris have claimed her support for abortion is antithetical to the faith. “Joe Biden & Kamala Harris are labeled as the most pro-abortion presidential ticket in the history of our nation,” wrote evangelist Franklin Graham on Twitter on Wednesday. “This should be a great concern to all Christians. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am pro-life & believe every life is precious to God.”