Wearing his faith on his sleeves, Republican presidential candidate Ramaswamy evokes Old Testament’s Cyrus

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Republican US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has said he aligns some core principles of his Hindu faith with the “Judeo-Christian values” but acknowledged that he would not be the best president to spread Christianity. The 38-year-old Indian-origin multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur on Wednesday night appeared on a CNN town hall in Iowa, during which he responded to questions on his religion, immigration, border security, and economic inequality. A significant constituency of the Republican voters are Evangelical Christians in Iowa.

An audience member sought his response about the perception of those people who believe he “cannot be our president” because his religion “is not what our founding fathers based our country on. Ramaswamy said he “respectfully disagrees.” Ramaswamy said that he aligns some core principles of his Hindu faith with the “Judeo-Christian values” shared by many Iowa voters. At the same time, he acknowledged that he would not be the best president to spread Christianity. But he also asserted his commitment to uphold the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion would be a focus of his presidency.

“I think it’s my responsibility to make faith and patriotism and family and hard work cool again in this country, I think they’re pretty cool and I think that’s my job as your next president,” Ramaswamy said. Ramaswamy appeared at the town hall just weeks before the January 15 Iowa caucuses kick off the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominating process. If nominated by the Republican Party and elected in the presidential election in November 2024, he would be the youngest-ever American president.

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“We don’t choose who God works through. God chooses who God works through. So we get to the Old Testament, a little bit further along, we get to the Book of Isaiah. I don’t know if many of you are familiar with that one. God chose Cyrus, a Gentile all the way in Persia, to lead the Jewish people back to the Promised Land,” he said. “And so yes, I believe God put us here for a purpose. My faith is what leads me on this journey to run for president,” said the Indian American.

During the televised CNN debate, Ramaswamy also laid out why he believes his upbringing in Hinduism aligns with the core tenets of Christianity and also highlighted his connection to Christianity through his education at St. Xavier, a Catholic high school in Cincinnati.