Hillary Clinton in God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life, by Paul Kengor, published Sept. 18, 2007

On Abortion: 1974: pro-choice fervency not based on any personal abortion

In 1974, Hillary met William F. Harrison, a prominent abortion doctor in Arkansas, who became her gynecologist and friend. In a series of interview for this book, Harrison shed some light on the development of Hillary’s pro-choice.

Harrison is quick to point out that Hillary never saw him for an abortion. Harrison says he met Hillary simply as a result of her yearly ob-gyn exam.

This is an important point, since it would mean that Hillary’s support does not stem from a personal experience in which she had the procedure. Rather, Harrison estimates that a reason for her pro-choice stance is that she is a product of an age “where she would have had friends who had illegal abortions. I am sure that was part of it.”

Harrison says that when he met Hillary, she was already steadfast in her support of Roe v. Wade. He sees her upbringing as a Methodist as no reason to believe she would be against abortion. “Hillary is a Methodist. The Methodist Church is very strongly pro-choice.”

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 49-50 Jul 18, 2007

On Abortion: 1993 health plan included RU-486 & widely available abortion

Mrs. Clinton, during her efforts to revolutionize the health care industry, said 1993 that under her plan, abortion services “would be widely available.” This prompted anxieties over the prospect of taxpayer-funded abortions, sparking the Coates Amendment, which sought to strip abortion funding from the plan.

The first lady allowed for a “conscience exemption” in which doctors and hospitals would not be forced to perform abortions. Pro-lifers were relieved; still, they could not fathom that their tax dollars might be used to find what they saw as the deliberate destruction of innocent human life.

Mrs. Clinton’s words also ignited fears among moderate and conservative Christians over the availability of the abortion pill, RU-486, under her health care plan. One of her husband’s first acts in office was to push the pill to market through an expedited FDA approval process that was criticized by pro-lifers as allegedly too quick for the safety of the women who would take the pill.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.124-125 Jul 18, 2007

On Abortion: 1999: keep abortion safe, legal & rare into next century

On January 22, 1999, Hillary took an unprecedented step for a first lady by delivering a speech to NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, the premier advocacy group for legal, unrestricted abortion. Speaking to the group in DC, she stated her goal of “keeping abortion safe, legal and rare into the next century,” a slogan that would become the mantra for her position. She shared revealing remarks beyond conventional pro-choice sentiments: “I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting the decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard.”
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.191 Jul 18, 2007

On Civil Rights: 1962: met MLK Jr. preaching a sermon in Chicago

In 1962, Don Jones, the youth minister at Hillary’s church took Hillary and her class to hear a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights pioneer preached a sermon titled “Sleeping Through the Revolution,” and the experience gave Jones the opportunity to leave another indelible mark on his pupils. “I wanted them to become aware of the social revolution that was taking place. It was an opportunity for them to meet a great person. Park Ridge was sleeping through the greatest social revolutio this country has ever had.“

In his speech, Dr. King said too many Americans were like Rip Van Winkle, snoozing through the changes happening around them.

That night was one Hillary would never forget, particularly because of the moment after the speech, when Jones shocked the teen and her comrades by arranging to have them briefly meet with King. Later in life, Hillary would remark that these experiences opened her eyes ”as a teenager to other people and the way they live which affected me.“

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 17 Jul 18, 2007

On Civil Rights: 1965: brought black classmates to all-white church

In 1965, Hillary invited a black classmate to attend church services with her at the Methodist church, a move that raised eyebrows. Don Jones later recalled that the Park Ridge Methodist folks were bothered because Hillary seemed to make the move “not out of goodwill” but simply to shock a “lily-white church.” She told Jones she was genuinely interested in her minority classmates, and today, schoolmates like Karen Williamson speak warmly of Hillary: “She was a friend. As a black woman going to Wellesley at the time friends were very welcome. All the black students felt we had a close friendship in Hillary.“ They also sensed something more: ”A lot of us thought Hillary would be the first woman president,“ said Williamson later.

It was Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination that produced one of the greatest shifts. The trauma seemed to catalyze Hillary’s politics. Nevertheless, her classmates insist she was never a radical. Hillary was more willing to work within the system to change things.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 28-29 Jul 18, 2007

On Civil Rights: Supports DOMA, which Bill Clinton signed

Hillary stated categorically that she opposed legalizing same-sex marriage. She provided a clear explanation that to this day is the most quoted statement enunciating her position. “Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman. But I also believe that people in committed gay marriages, as they believe them to be, should be given rights under the law that recognize and respect their relationship.“

Hillary said she backed her husband’s signing of the Defense of Marriage Act. She said what everyone wanted to know: Yes, if she had been in the Senate in 1996, she would have supported the law.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.189-190 Jul 18, 2007

On Drugs: 1969: held herself aloof from college drug counterculture

Hillary’s faith, or perhaps her personality or seriousness generally, must have been a contributing factor to her staying on the straight and narrow. She called herself “an ethical Christian,” physically aloof from the counterculture. Her college friends do not recall her smoking dope, dropping acid, drinking to excess, or tearing off her clothes during concerts. She did not imbibe the hedonism and drug culture of the period; she did not drop out. She at one time painted a flower on her arm and wore tie-dye clothes, and as surviving photos attest, looked like a girl of the sixties, but was no Janis Joplin.
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 34 Jul 18, 2007

On Families & Children: 1980s: her church founded largest daycare in Arkansas

While she was a member of the church in the 1980s, the congregation purchased a building to expand its day care center into what became the Gertrude Remmel Butler Child Development Center.

Hillary clearly supported the center, which was consistent with her deep interest in child care. She personally donated funds to the center, which today serves more than 300 children in full-time & after-school child care, children of working parents in downtown Little Rock. It is the largest state-licensed child care facility in the state of Arkansas, housing a huge staff of more than 70. The facility in many ways reflects the vision for communal support that Hillary would later outline in her book It Takes a Village.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 62 Jul 18, 2007

On Families & Children: For teens, not about birth control, but about self-control

The first lady of Arkansas launched a public education campaign to highlight problems faced by modern teens. She singled out sexual content, stating that society was “bombarding kids with sexual messages on TV, in music, everywhere they turn.” In a throwback to the Park Ridge of the 1950s, she said that both parents and churches were failing teenagers in not doing enough to help them just say no to sex. “Adults are not fulfilling their responsibility to talk to young people about the future, about how they should view their lives, about self-discipline and other values they should have.” She stated, “It’s not birth control, but self-control.”
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 77-78 Jul 18, 2007

On Families & Children: Family planning & child spacing is international human right

Hillary went to Beijing in 1995 and gave one of the most memorable speeches of her career. This was an address presumably for the purpose of reaffirming the theme, which was that “human rights are women’s rights” and “women’s rights are human rights.” The only time she used the word abortion was to denounce the host Chinese government for forcing women to have abortions against their will. That condemnation demonstrated Hillary’s ability to venture headfirst into confrontation.

Others, however, were not so easily satisfied. While Hillary did not actually use the word abortion elsewhere in her talk, she used substitute phrases like family planning. Most alarming to her detractors, she affirmed an international “right to determine freely the number and spacing of the children” that a woman desires, implying without stating that abortion was a basic human right. In fact, an international news agency later reported that she had called abortion a human right.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.146-148 Jul 18, 2007

On Foreign Policy: Allegedly pro-PLO in 1960; but pro-Israel by 1981

In 1981, while the Clintons campaigned to win back the governorship, their pastor, Vaught approached them about a trip to Israel. As Bill and Hillary found themselves struggling spiritually and politically to put Bill back in the governor’s mansion, the couple decided to go.

In contrast to the anti-Israel version of Hillary portrayed during parts of the 1970s, some sources claim this trip gave Hillary an inspired appreciation for the state of Israel, and if so, it may have mitigated her alleged pro-PLO sympathies, giving more balance in her perspective. A friend of the Clintons says: “Bill and Hillary understood the profound effect that Israel has on American Jews and around the world and share a feeling for the security and stability of the State of Israel.”

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 70-71 Jul 18, 2007

On Government Reform: 1978: chaired Legal Services Corp. while at Rose Law Firm

The group that really showed Hillary’s political colors was the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Hillary was appointed to the LSC board in 1978 by Pres. Carter & would remain there until 1982, at one point becoming board chair. From that perch, she set out to change the world.

LSC provided attorneys from the federal system to represent the needy in a variety of cases. Thus, the LSC became a magnet for liberals committed to changing society through the court system. What the children of the 1960s coul not achieve through the ballot box, they hoped to gain by the lawsuit.

With Hillary as a member of the premier law firm in Arkansas, the Rose Law Firm, it just so happened that these LSC activities were poised to expand legal services across the nation in a way that had the potential to generate a large amount of business for Rose.

This was a conflict of interest of which Hillary was obviously aware but refused to openly acknowledge, fueled by her strong belief in the moral center of the cause.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 56-58 Jul 18, 2007

On Health Care: Passion for healthcare rooted in Jesus’ teachings

In 1996, the first lady delivered the keynote speech to the annual United Methodist General Conference. This was one of Hillary’s finest religious speeches.

“Children need us. They are not rugged individualists. They depend, first and foremost, on their parents, who bear the primary responsibility for their upbringing.” She cited Jesus as the chief motivation in her government-based health care ministry to children.

“Take the image we have of Jesus and transposing it onto the face of every child we see, then we would ask ourselves, would I turn that child away from the health care that child needs?“

In this one passage, she brought her two predominant interests--health care and children--together under the umbrella of religion, in a telling explanation of her motivations for universal health care. It was an important display of the relationship between her private Christianity and her public policy. God had led her to believe in the value of nationalized health care.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.156-157 Jul 18, 2007

On Homeland Security: 1999: overturn don’t-ask-don’t-tell so gays can serve openly

Hillary told a group of gay contributors that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy enacted by her husband with the intent of making it easier for gay men and lesbians to serve in the armed forces, had been a failure. In her first public statement on the issue, the Senate candidate said that if elected, she would work to overturn the policy, insisting that homosexuals be allowed to serve openly in the military. Stating that it was politically unrealistic to expect Congress to make a change at the current moment, the first lady maintained that the Department of Defense should take immediate steps to reduce the number of instances of homosexuals being discharged from the military. “Gays and lesbians already serve with distinction in our nation’s armed forces and should not face discrimination. Fitness to serve should be based on an individual’s conduct, not their sexual orientation.”
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.188-189 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: 1963: called Saul Alinsky “great seducer” of young minds

Hillary’s church youth minister, Don Jones, took his group to meet the legendary radical and social activist Saul Alinsky. Born in 1909, the often profane, crude, and always irreverent Chicagoan was dedicated to ripping down the “power structure” throughout capitalist America, and he devoted much of his life to organizing demonstrations. Alinsky penned Reveille for Radicals, the 1946 bible of the protest movement, establishing him as “the father of community organizing.”

Hillary would later describe Alinsky as a “great seducer” of young minds. In truth, Jones’s goal in introducing his acolytes to Alinsky could not have been all that religious, since Alinsky was a well-known and committed agnostic Jew. Hillary was among those taken in, so intrigued and impressed by Alinsky that she would later write her college thesis on his strategies.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 18 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Early character development: standing up to a bully

Four-year-old Hillary ran into a bully of a girl named Suzy, a merciless toddler who regularly belted both boys & girls, including Hillary. Each time she walloped Hillary, Suzy exulted in victory as tiny Hillary dashed home crying. Dorothy would have non of this: “There’s no room in this house for cowards. The next time she hits you, I want you to hit her back.”

The next time Hillary was confronted by the brat, who had been encouraged by a pack of boys, the Rodham girl shocked everyone by punching Suzy, knocking her off her feet. The boys stood there, mouths agape, as the stunned tyrant fell to the ground. The triumphant Hillary sprinted back to her house.

It was an important moment for Hillary and one that Dorothy would later come to recognize as crucial to the development of her daughter’s character. The altercation with Suzy changed the way Hillary interacted with everyone--especially the boys. Dorothy Rodham said: “Boys responded well to Hillary. She just took charge, and they let her.”

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 6 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Sought pastoral guidance on doubts about capital punishment

Hillary consulted her pastor, Don Jones, when she found herself grappling with the issue of capital punishment. Hillary had long had spiritual doubts about the Christianity behind supporting such a policy.

The topic had long provided Bill with a good issue to help position himself a moderate. Jones discussed this issue with Hillary when Gov. Clinton was once considering whether to commute a capital sentence. Hillary “agonized” over the decision, and consulted Jones. Jones told her, “I believe there is such a thing as punitive justice; that’s part of the whole concept of justice. And I think some people have forfeited their right to life because of the heinous deed that they’ve committed.” In response, says Jones, Hillary told him, “Well, I think I agree with you.”

However, says Jones, it was evident that Hillary “was struggling with the question of could she conscientiously as a Christian say that. There was uncertainty. I attribute that to her faith.”

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 81-82 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Dealt with Bill’s infidelity via counseling & Book of Psalms

It is difficult to say when, exactly, Bill Clinton began his extramarital affairs. If Bill was not cheating on Hillary at the beginning of their marriage in 1975, he was doing so by the 1980s. Hillary had suspicions, and rumors were rampant. Despite the accusations that swirled around Bill, there was little sense of how Hillary reacted to the situation, and how her faith was impacted by Bill’s behavior. To this day, the mystery surrounding Hillary’s reaction to her husband’s behavior has swelled, becoming one of the great public questions of the couple’s marriage. Over the years, many sources have reported that Hillary was deeply troubled by these infidelities, and she took her turmoil to God, or at least to a man of God--a minister.

Hillary’s pastor in Little Rock, Dr. Ed Matthews, says that Hillary was very much in personal crisis, suffering a broken heart, and sought solace in the Book of Psalms. Bill eventually agreed to meet with Dr. Matthews and Hillary for counseling.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 83-85 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Sincere Christian & lifelong member of religious left

Some things regarding Hillary Clinton and her faith are clear: Although no one can profess to know any individual’s heart and soul, there seems no question that Hillary is a sincere, committed Christian and has been since childhood. The same applies to her husband. Surely not even the most cynical rightwinger would insist that Hillary and Bill were playing politics when they eagerly attended Sunday school as eight-year olds. Hillary is a very liberal Christian, and would be categorized as part of the religious left, along with millions of Christian Americans, a designation that seems to have disappeared from the media’s lexicon now that the secular press is obsessed with fears over the religious right.
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. xii Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: The politics of meaning: individuality is part of society

In March 1993, Hillary’s father, Hugh Rodham, suffered a massive stroke & slipped into a coma. Hillary gingerly got on with the business of being First Lady. That business included a speech on 4/6/93, where Hillary introduced a phrase to the broader public: “the politics of meaning.” According to Mrs. Clinton, the modern problem was this:
“Why is there this undercurrent of discontent? This sense that somehow economic growth & prosperity, political democracy & freedom are not enough? That we collectively lack, at some core level, meaning in our individual lives & meaning collectively? We are, I think, in a crisis of meaning. What does it mean in today’s world to pursue not only vocations, to be part of institutions, but to be human?

We need a new politics of meaning. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable questions, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.“

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.102-105 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Amalgam politics: make labels irrelevant

Hillary insisted that she could not be placed in a box politically or ideologically: “My politics are a real mixture,” Hillary explained. “An amalgam. Nobody’s ever stopped to ask me or try to figure out the new sense of politics that Bill & a lot of us are trying to create. The labels are irrelevant.”

To a degree her plea was valid, but it was also disingenuous, as she could have candidly admitted that she was not a conservative Republican. This trend would continue throughout Hillary’s career, as she consistently lunged for the rhetorical middle and tried to frame herself as a moderate.

When it is suggested that she sounds as though she’s trying to come up with a sort of unified-field theory of life, she says, excitedly, “That’s right, that’s exactly right!” The First Lady was seeking a way to marry conservatism and liberalism, capitalism and state-ism, to join together the myriad state, religious, social, economic, and class problems into one idea that could be addressed by her theory.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.109-111 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Old-fashioned Methodist; reads Book of Resolutions & Bible

Mrs. Clinton consented to a major interview on her faith with Newsweek’s religion editor, Kenneth Woodward, published Oct. 31, right before the Tuesday vote.

The piece began by noting that Mrs. Clinton had been called many things. Yet, long before she was a Democrat, a lawyer, or a Clinton, wrote Woodward, Hillary Rodham was a Methodist. Woodward noted that she talked like a Methodist, thought like one, and even desired to reform society like a well-schooled Methodist churchwoman. “I am, she affirmed, an old-fashioned Methodist.“

Mrs. Clinton said she kept a copy of The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church, along with the Bible. She told Woodward, ”I think that the Methodist Church, for a period of time, became too socially concerned, too involved in the social gospel, and did not pay enough attention to questions of personal salvation and individual faith.“ This was odd coming from Hillary, who took Methodism’s social gospel more to heart than any other religious teaching.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.137-138 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Strong identification with Eleanor Roosevelt

In 1995, Jean Houston [a well-known psychic], caught a glimpse of the large picture of Eleanor Roosevelt in Hillary’s office. Houston, too, was a big fan of the former First Lady, and as a teen had met Eleanor several times. The two formed a strong connection over their shared love of the legendary woman.

On 2/21/93, Hillary mentioned imaginary discussions: “I thought about all the conversations I’ve had in my head with Mrs. Roosevelt this year,” saying she had asked Eleanor questions like, “How did you put up with this?“

To many people, it was fitting that Hillary identified with Eleanor. In April 1995, Jean Houston proposed that Mrs. Clinton ”search further and dig deeper“ for her connections to Mrs. Roosevelt. Houston had Hillary close her eyes, and envision herself in a room with Eleanor, a room where she was free to talk about whatever she wanted.

Pundits ridiculed Hillary; quoting Eleanor was great, but communing with her ”spirit“ was something else entirely.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.149-153 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: Endured Monicagate through faith and inward spirituality

[In 1968, with regards to revelations of Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky,] the strange press release from the first lady’s office referred to her husband in a political as well as a personal way, saying that she “is committed to her marriage and believes in this president and loves him very much.”

Nonetheless, she turned inward. Her press secretary stated, “Clearly this is not the best day in Mrs. Clinton’s life. This is a time she relies on her strong religious faith.” Hillary elaborated, announcing, “I’m not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith.”

There were in fact spiritual sources that Hillary tapped at this time, taking guidance from certain ministers. One such was civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.168-170 Jul 18, 2007

On Principles & Values: 2000: campaigned heavily in African-American churches

As Election Day approached, Hillary began working churches like a preacher, employing her faith for political purposes in ways she had never done before. She did so with no objection from the intensely secular, religiously hostile New York press.

Hillary appeared behind the podium [at one church in Harlem]: “She’s gonna win,” declares the pastor. “And we are going to come out in droves for her.” Nobody doubted that black voters prefered Hillary over Rick Lazio. But black turnout is unreliable.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.194-204 Jul 18, 2007

The above quotations are from God and Hillary Clinton:
A Spiritual Life
, by Paul Kengor.
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