Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hillary Clinton's Religion

The Boston Globe reports on a speech Senator Hillary Clinton gave to a "Boston-based organization that promotes faith-based solutions to social problems." Clinton said,

There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles.... I've always been a praying person....

She also said "there must be room for religious people to live out their faith in the public square."

I don't question Senator Clinton's public profession of faith. If she says she's a believing Christian who prays regularly, then I accept that. But I have to wonder when she says that she believes supporting faith-based initiatives is consistent with the Constitution, implying no issue of church-state separation, and when she indicates that she has no problem with people "living out their faith" in public life. Given the contemptuous and sometimes vicious attacks President Bush has endured from Democrats because of his open Christian beliefs, I have to wonder what niche Clinton occupies in the Democratic Party.

I just never saw that strong Christian influence in the lives of the Clintons when he was President and she was First Lady or, for that matter, when she was campaigning to borrow one of New York's Senate seats. Sure, they attended the obligatory church services and provided the expected photo ops on the church steps on Sundays. All presidential families do that, to one degree or another. And President Clinton, having been caught having sex in the White House with a young girl, con cigarro, and having then been caught lying about it under oath, suddenly made a very big deal about getting religious counseling for his sins. There wasn't much public skepticism about it, of course, but every time he did his public confession routine, stressing his religious contrition, lower lip quivering on cue, you could imagine many millions of eyebrows lifting and eyeballs rolling.

But still. I don't question the sincerity of the religious beliefs of either Clinton. That's between them and whomever they believe their maker to be. I will make a prediction, though. You're not going to see Senator Clinton out in the fly-over states, press throng in tow, stalking some hapless bird. It wouldn't work any better for her than it did for le fran├žais. Besides, it's hard to find camouflage designer pantsuits. But you will see her, more and more, being very publicly religious. Attending church in states where merlot and brie are hard to find, crossing and kneeling or arms waving in ecstasy, perhaps speaking in tongues, whatever the venue requires. And always, always, the cameras.

But I don't question her religious beliefs, and I'll never ridicule her for being a person of faith. That would make me as petty and unsavory as Democrats who attack President Bush for being openly Christian. But I might, from time to time, when the occasion merits, question the political exploitation of her religious beliefs.


Blogger sygamel said...

"I've always been a praying person"

Huh? I don't think even she knows what she meant by this.

If Democrats think ostensible faith will help to tilt the political pendulum their way, they are more lost than I thought. A single, completely misinterpreted election day exit poll question has never had, and may never have, more influence on politicians again.

8:36 PM, January 20, 2005  

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