On Jan. 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history as the first female, African American, and Asian American Vice President of the United States. Naturally, plenty of people are interested in Harris and her background.
With prayer being a part of Inauguration Day, you’re not the only one wondering about Harris’ religion. Is she Catholic, like President Joe Biden, or something different? Here’s what you need to know about the new Vice President’s religion.
Kamala Harris is Baptist.
The VP said in an October interview with Interfaith Youth Core that her “faith journey” started when she was young. “On Sundays, my mother would dress my sister, Maya, and me in our Sunday best and send us off to the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, California, where Maya and I sang in the children’s choir,” Harris told the publication. “That’s where I formed some of my earliest memories of the Bible’s teachings. It’s where I learned that ‘faith’ is a verb and that we must live it, and show it, in action.”
She grew up in an interfaith household.
Harris’ mother was Hindu, and her father was Christian. She grew up attending services at a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple, USA Today reports.
Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, is Jewish.
The couple tied the knot in 2014. According to America Magazine, the couple smashed a glass as part of the traditional Jewish custom at their wedding. Harris told Interfaith Youth Core that she shares “Jewish traditions and celebrations” with Emhoff at home. “From all of these traditions and teachings, I’ve learned that faith is not only something we express in church and prayerful reflection, but also in the way we live our lives, do our work and pursue our respective callings,” she said.
She was sworn in to the Senate on her family Bible.
There were rumors circulating that Harris refused to be sworn in to the Senate on a Bible, but that’s inaccurate. She used a family Bible for the occasion, noting that it was “well-worn,” per USA Today. “All right, that’s a good way to do it,” then Vice President Biden said.
She tapped into her faith on the campaign trail.
In August 2019, Harris used parallels between what she hoped to achieve in politics and her faith. “Jesus tells us how we should define neighbor,” she said during a speech. “Jesus tells us, your neighbor 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 neighbor is that man by the side of the road who you walk by, who has faced hardship.”
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