Sunday, December 9, 2007


I haven't really followed RedBlueChristian for a while, so I thought I'd catch up. I searched for a discussion of Hillary Clinton's faith, and only found a reference to it in a comment from Terry Hull to a John Sexton post:

If you have an interest in Sen. Clinton’s faith, I do suggest you read that first chapter or two of her book. Her testimony of growing up in an active church youth group, and the effect that had on her life, rang true to me, as one who also was impacted greatly by my church youth group.

Growing up in a Methodist church, she was taught that a good Christian expresses one’s faith by getting involved in helping the poor, unfortunate, and disenfranchised. It is logical that when she turned to politics, she would choose the Democratic party.

I touched on Clinton's faith in a post last month that quoted from a CBS News story.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has been less outspoken than Obama about her Methodist faith - which is perhaps why, among the frontrunners, she is seen as the least religious, according to a recent Pew survey. But behind the scenes, Clinton, who is thought to be deeply religious by those who know her, has been engaged in an impressive outreach program to win over religious voters.

Last year, Clinton hired Burns Strider, a highly-regarded white evangelical born and raised in Mississippi, to be her faith outreach director. She and Strider, who headed up the Democrats' outreach program following the 2004 election, are casting Clinton's faith as integral to her life and her policy positions on issues like genocide in Darfur. It's a strategy made more viable by the rise of pastors like Warren and Bill Hybels, who talk more about issues like poverty than the battles of the culture war.

And Rick Warren has gotten into the act:

Sen. Hillary Clinton showed up to Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California on Wednesday for a conference on AIDS. Warren offered praise to Clinton before the crowd of more than 500 people for showing up. "Most of you know that we invited all of the leading candidates, presidential candidates, to come to Saddleback Church to share about their view on AIDS." Warren said to the crowd. "Four of the candidates said they would send a video, but one of the candidates said ‘I’ll come.’"

The candidates who participated via video were Edwards, Huckabee, McCain, Obama, and Romney. But Clinton spoke live:

The [Democratic] frontrunner spoke of her travels abroad – speaking powerfully about one visit to Bangkok and meeting to a 12 year old girl who had contracted AIDS from a brothel. Clinton also spoke about the unjust way that men in the 1980’s were treated when they were too ashamed to tell their loved ones that they were sick with the disease. "We are taught to heal the sick to love them as our own but 25 years ago too many of them died alone."

Clinton gave a sermon of sorts and praised the church in which she spoke for their work. "If you read those moments when Jesus is presented with someone who is ill it becomes abundantly clear that Christ had a choice he could have been too busy he could have thought this is not the message of the day, I don’t need to do this, I’ve already done this," Clinton said. "But he made the choice – he never asked why someone was sick – he just healed and ministered to those in need. That is what Saddleback has chosen to do."

Clinton, wearing a small cross pin on her lapel, spoke about religion in her life. "My faith journey is approaching a half a century and I know how far I still have to go. I have been blessed in my life both starting in my family and in the church of my childhood to be guided every step of the way. A mother who taught Sunday school and made sure that my brothers and I be there the moment the church doors opened. A father who kneeled by the side of his bed every night of his life to say his prayers."

Senator Clinton went on to discuss how prayer got her through her marital difficulties. "I am often asked if I am a praying person and I have always responded that I was fortunate enough to be raised to understand the power and purpose in prayer, but had I not been -probably one week in the White House would have turned me into one."

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