Hillary Clinton’s history of faith

When Hillary Clinton takes the stage in Philadelphia this week, she has a unique opportunity to speak to a nation engaged in collective soul-searching.

As the Christian right has evidently vacated all pretense of seeking a candidate who embodies Christian values, Clinton can step into the space that they have vacated. She can pledge to be the candidate who will be guided by her faith.

She is a Methodist and has deep religious roots that she can draw on.

Coming of age in the 1960s, Clinton turned to theology to make sense of the political and social turmoil unfolding around her.

She read theologians Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr as she wrestled with how Christians ought to engage the world, pursue justice and reform society.

In recent weeks and months, Clinton has returned to those roots on the campaign trail. In February, as she celebrated her victory in the South Carolina primary and began to pivot to the general election, she countered Donald Trump’s politics of division by turning to Scripture.

In contrast with Trump, who had fumbled an effort to quote “two Corinthians,” she centered her call for unity in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love never fails. … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Clinton acknowledged that it might sound odd for a presidential candidate to be calling for “more lovingkindness in America,” but she insisted that these were “words to live by, not only for ourselves, but also for our country.”

And earlier this month, in the aftermath of the killing of five police officers in Dallas, Clinton spoke to the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s general conference in Philadelphia. Borrowing from the book of Proverbs, she implored her audience to listen to one another, to seek common ground, to “incline our ears to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding.” Continue reading


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