Democrat congresswoman Tulsi “Samarpana” Gabbard, a woman described by Nancy Pelosi as “a rising star, who has devoted her life to public service”, now tied to obscure Hare Krishna sect. Those lovable, whacky Democrats are sure something, aren’t they? Bless their hearts.
Gabbard’s parents reportedly have extensive ties to a splinter Hare Krishna sect led by a guru named Chris Butler. This Hawaii-based group, which has variously been known as the Hare Name Society, Identity Institute and the Science of Identity Foundation has sparked controversy over the years and is is sometimes described as a cult. The links between Gabbard’s family and Butler’s sect were detailed in a 2004 Honolulu Magazine profile of the congresswoman’s father, Mike Gabbard, who is a member of the Hawaii state Senate and former councilman and who fought efforts to legalize gay marriage in Hawaii.
The nature of Tulsi Gabbard’s ties to Butler’s group are less clear. In its profile of the congresswoman’s father, Honolulu Magazine noted he described himself as Catholic. When Honolulu Magazine asked the elder Gabbard about his ties to Butler’s Hare Krishna sect, the publication said it received a reply from Tulsi Gabbard accusing them of pursuing the story because they opposed her father’s work fighting same-sex marriage.
“I smell a skunk,” Tulsi Gabbard wrote, according to the magazine. “It’s clear to me that you’re acting as a conduit for The Honolulu Weekly and other homosexual extremist supporters of Ed Case.”
Hare Krishna is based on Hindu scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita. Gabbard describes herself as Hindu and, in January, she was sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita. Gabbard said she chose the book because it led her on a “spiritual journey.”
“I was raised in a multiracial, multicultural, 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, according to the Huffington Post. “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 embraced this spiritual journey through the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.”
Gabbard’s spokeswoman, Heather Fluit, did not respond to a question from TPM Thursday about whether the congresswoman identifies as either a Hare Krishna or a follower of Butler.