Hillary and Religion

President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

Yesterday the girls and I traveled to Brentwood, New Hampshire to attend a rally where President Bill Clinton was going to be campaigning for his wife, Hillary. His speech was refreshing and inspiring. During the question and answer period I stated that, “religion is a big deal to Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and that scares me, quite frankly.” Then asked, “How does religion fit into a Hillary administration?” The following is his reply.

First of all, her faith is very important to her; she’s always been quite religious in a more traditional way.  She was raised in a Methodist home.  She taught Sunday school for a while while I was a governor. And she religiously read a lot of books about theology, religion, and the history of faith. It’s very interesting. But, she feels much more strongly than they do that the founders were right. [APPLAUSE]

A lot of our founders might not be able to get elected today because they were deists, you know. Thomas Jefferson even clipped out the Bible and just stripped it down to the essential teachings of Jesus. I don’t know if you ever saw the Jefferson Bible, it’s quite interesting. Those fellows would have a hard time passing that Republican test, I guarantee you. Jefferson, Washington, and all of them, they’d have a hard time getting over the bar. I think it’s interesting, there’s no doubt in my mind, the reason America has the largest percentage of citizens who regularly go to churches and synagogues and mosques and temples is that we keep the government out of their faith. [APPLAUSE]

We allow people to be non-believers and we don’t use taxpayer money trying to pick and choose winners when it comes to faith. I don’t think there’s any question about that.

When the tsunami hit South Asia, before President Bush asked his father and me to go head up this group, Hillary and I went to one of her constituencies in Queens. They had a Buddhist temple and they were gathering up stuff to send to Sri Lanka. They had, it was amazing, all these African American guys from the local African American church showed up with supplies, the local Hispanic community leaders from the local Catholic church came up, and then the local people from the synagogue came up, and they had some Muslims came from a couple miles away and they were all contributing to this and I thought, “You know, this only works because the government does not get into this.” I mean, it was a tribute to the wisdom of the founding fathers and she thinks they were right. [APPLAUSE]

This response, of course, is calculated to appeal to a very broad audience. It is, however, in stark contrast to Mitt Romney’s statement in his “Faith in America” speech that “freedom requires religion” and his implied assertion that the founding fathers intended to create a religious (if not Christian) government.

I also very much like her position on Iraq, health care, taxes, economics, diplomacy, and science. Go Hillary!

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations, it must have been a thrill for you to be able to put a question to Clinton and have it answered like that!

    His response is also interesting in light of an opinion piece I saw in The Age last week, about religion’s place in Australian politics:
    http://www.theage.com.au/text/articles/2008/01/01/1198949813559.html

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