The Republican Party is patting themselves on the back for the diversity of its candidates in 2010, says Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast. Indian-American Nikki Haley is running for governor of South Carolina, Cuban-American Marco Rubio is running for the senate in Florida, and GOP nominees for senator and governor in California are both female. But while gender and "racial barriers may be falling... religious barriers are alive and well" in the Republican party. Haley's ethnic background may now be acceptable to conservative voters, but had she remained a Sikh — the religion in which she was raised before converting to evangelical Christianity — it's clear it would have imperiled her political career. Here's an extract: 

The GOP’s basic problem is that many Republicans equate Christianity, or at least Judeo-Christianity, with Americanism. They do not believe it’s possible to truly uphold American ideals unless you identify with the religious traditions that supposedly underlie those ideals. In a country with a growing Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Mormon and atheist population, that’s a significant source of political bigotry.

Is it good that the South Carolina GOP has embraced a South Asian woman? Of course. When that woman can practice whatever religion she wants, without fear that it will wreck her political career, then Republicans will truly deserve to crow.

Read the entire article at the Daily Beast.