Razib Khan on Thursday, May. 19th
I was just poking around for information on the potential Republican field in 2012 this morning, and I stumbled onto an interesting image of one of the candidates, Jon Huntsman, Jr.. In case you don’t know, Huntsman is the scion of a mega-rich Mormon political family, and viewed as a moderate Republican (though this is mostly because these terms are graded on a curve today, and I say this as a registered Republican). He was appointed by Barack H. Obama to be ambassador to China, but he resigned that position. The supposition is that he might be mulling a presidential run. I am of the set who believes that this is some bizarre joke or tactical feint, as a moderate Mormon has pretty much zero chance in the Republican primaries.
A couple of years ago, I celebrated with Hindu Utahns Huntsman’s annual Diwali. Among this group, who traveled widely, Huntsman’s religious beliefs were of little interest, conversation was only about his political leanings. In fact, most of the group were impressed that Huntsman was a political agnostic. Smiling, one Indian-American businessman explained….
Two points. First, Mormonism has a universalist streak, and its doctrine of exaltation probably makes some Hindu concepts less shocking to them then they are to other Christians. Second, South Asians are now part of the American discussion in a way that they weren’t just five years ago. In his inaugural address President Obama mentioned Hindus. And now you have a prominent member of what is the de facto white Christian party who openly celebrates Diwali in a nod to one of his adoptive daughter’s heritage.
For more on what Huntsman’s family means for the white/non-white binary, hit Sepia Mutiny.