How Are Religious Voters Responding to Candidates’ Talk of Faith?


On Sunday, Hillary Clinton stood at the pulpit of Foundry United Methodist Church, which she’d attended as first lady, and said she’d just gotten some excellent, Bible-based advice from her former minister, J. Philip Wogaman: In keeping with the reading of the day, from Romans 12, he told her, “You’ve got to be nicer to the press.”

“I certainly will take that to heart,” she promised, and the congregation laughed.

Though she didn’t specify which lines in particular he was referring to, these seem to fit:

Verse 14: “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”

Or 18: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Or 19-20: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

Recently, her friend-turned-rival Donald Trump, the billionaire leading the GOP field, declined to single out any of his favorite Bible verses, though he often mentions that it’s his favorite book, just ahead of The Art of the Deal.

“I wouldn’t want to get into it, because for me that’s very personal,” he said on With All Due Respect.

But Clinton had no such qualms, and said Sunday’s reading happened to be a favorite, because of what it says about how we all have gifts, and all have different gifts we have a duty to put to good use.

She suggested that it is important to acknowledge our own gifts: The directive to “love your neighbor as yourself doesn’t mean much,” she said, “unless you love yourself first.”

Using our talents is “how we honor God,” she said, “who gave us these gifts in the first place.” It’s in doing so, she said, that “we can unlock the potential of every American…and of America itself.”

That feeling—and even some of the words she used to express it—echo the only other woman in the crowded presidential race, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, who often talks about learning in Sunday school that we all have different gifts from God, and that how we use them is our gift to God.

From Ben Carson questioning Trump’s faith to Joe Biden telling Stephen Colbert how much solace he draws from saying the rosary to Clinton’s return to her D.C. church, it was an unusually godly week on the campaign trail.

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SOURCE: Melinda Henneberger

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