Hillary Clinton opens up about her religious beliefs and Christian faith in Iowa.
Compared to most presidential candidates, Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton never used religion as a campaign tool to market herself. She hasn’t openly discussed her personal beliefs in the past either. But in a campaign rally on Monday, January 25 at Knoxville, Iowa, a member of the audience grabbed the opportunity to ask the former first lady and Secretary of State how her political views and principles conform to her Christian values and to the Ten Commandments.
Guidance counselor Jessica Manning of Pella, Iowa cited that her friends chose to become Republican because of their Christian values while she also cited the same reason for becoming a Democrat. Manning asked Clinton “So in these next few months as I am supporting you and defending you to my Republican friends. I am just curious, how you would say your beliefs align with the Ten Commandments and is that something that’s important to you?”
Clinton responded by saying that she is a person of faith and was raised as a Methodist Christian. She cited that family and church have been constant influences for her. Clinton also noted that even among Christians and people of faith, there are different interpretations when it comes to individual calling or commandment and the eventual response. She sees dialogue across people of faith as the key towards finding that commonality to best exercise everyone’s faith.
For the presidential hopeful, the most important calling or 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.”
Another best response to such individual differences according to Clinton is openness, tolerance and respect. She added that she has always admired people who constantly and truly turn their other cheek, who go the extra mile to respond to his/her calling, to forgive and eventually to move on. These qualities and responses according to her are difficult to do for human beings. And these kinds of responses have been reiterated by the New Testament several times.
She cites the Sermon on the Mount as an example “The famous discussion on the Sermon on the Mount should be something that you really pay attention to. There’s a lot of great Bible studies: What does the Sermon on the Mount really mean? What is it calling us to do and to understand? Because it sure does seem to favor the poor and the merciful and those who in worldly terms don’t have a lot but who have the spirit that God recognizes as being at the core of love and salvation.”
On the other hand, one of the biggest disappointments for Clinton is the use of religion especially Christianity as a tool to attack others, to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly. She reiterated the Confucian maxim to assess yourself first and to treat other people the way you want yourself to be treated.
Clinton finally said that she is not perfect but constantly tries to become a better person “I am by no means a perfect person, I will certainly confess that to one and all, but I feel the continuing urge to try to do better, to try to be kinder, to try to be more loving, even with people who are quite harsh. So, I think you have to keep asking yourself, if you are a person of faith, what is expected of me and am I actually acting the way that I should? And that starts in small ways and goes out in very large ones, but it’s something that I take very seriously.”
Although Hilary Clinton is a devote Christian, she also sees the need to liberalize some of the traditional religious teachings and codes like the role of women in modern society and on the issue of abortion.