While Hillary Clinton has steered clear from a strong religious stance at most campaign events this political season, she spoke yesterday at the African Methodist Episcopal church which has sparked a renewed interest in the candidate’s faith. The presidential hopeful once revealed that the Bible “was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking.” The Democrat presidential hopeful said that she finds “wisdom, comfort and encouragement” in the Bible and that she has spent a lot of time memorizing passages and looking to the book for guidance. Clinton also credited the Methodist Church for her “social gospel” concepts. Clinton says it is the church that instilled in her the importance of helping those being denied basic human rights.
— RickHendrix (@DrRickHendrix) July 9, 2016
The Christian Post reports that back in 2014, Hillary Clinton called the Bible the book that made her who she is today. The presidential candidate claimed that she spent a lot of time as a child reading the book and that it made a huge impact on her life. Clinton said that she was guided by the Bible and looked to the book for wisdom and encouragement.
“At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort, and encouragement.”
Clinton made the statement in an interview with the New York Times while promoting her book, Hard Choices. While the influence of the Bible may not seem all that shocking, Clinton also revealed at the time in the same interview that some other surprising books grace the shelves in her home, including George Bush’s Decision Points and John McCain’s Faith of My Fathers.
— Cindy Leinwand (@CindyLeinwand12) July 9, 2016
Though the Democrat credits the Bible for shaping her into the woman she is today, she has also praised the Methodist Church for putting importance on the “social gospel.” Clinton spoke at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly in April of 2014, at which time she outlined the importance of the social gospel and helping those being denied basic human rights and dignity. In her women’s rights-focused speech, Clinton revealed that it is the Methodist Church that pressed upon her the “great obligation of social gospel.”
Clinton began her speech by noting that many of her most memorable and life-changing moments as a child took place inside the Methodist Church. She says that the church shaped who she is today and that it opened doors to the world for her. The former Secretary of State goes on to reveal that “faith in action” was taught as essential to the United Methodist Church and that the church opened her eyes to the “injustice in the wider world.”
In the speech, Clinton tells a tale of a time when her church youth group went to a United Methodist Church in the “inner city” and realized that the youth in that church had the same concerns and problems as they did in the upper middle class neighborhoods. However, Clinton says that these youth did not have the same resources as she did growing up outside of poverty. It was these teachings that Clinton says pressed upon her the obligation to the social gospel as a whole.
Clinton says for her personally, social gospel meant having “hope, faith, and love in action,” which she claims she takes “very seriously.” Part of that commitment to the social gospel is what Clinton says has shaped her political views on social justice and helping those that are oppressed. Hillary Clinton says that, as a Methodist, she knows how to “make it happen” and that she has focused on that mission in her political career.
“I have seen firsthand how much faith communities can do. I think a lot has been accomplished, not just here at home, but everywhere.”
While Clinton has been more hushed on her religious views this 2016 presidential season, she did open up about her faith during a town hall in Iowa. The New York Times notes that in somewhat of a rare instance, Clinton expressed her position as a person of faith and says that it is her Christian faith that made her a Democrat and that she is “disappointed and sorry” that Christianity is used by some to condemn and judge others. Instead, Clinton says that she focuses on the New Testament teachings of love and caring for the poor.
“My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do, and there is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up, to find faith themselves that I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith.”
What do you think of Hillary Clinton’s commitment to the United Methodist Church? Do any of her views surprise you?
[Image by Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]