Sen. Hillary Clinton
Sen. Hillary Clinton has “felt the presence of the Holy Spirit” in her life and believes in the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, but she is ambivalent about the necessity of belief in Christ for salvation, according to segments of a New York Times interview that either went unused or received little attention at the time of publishing.
Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody unearthed the quotes, which came from New York Times reporter Michael Luo’s interview with the senator in July.
Clinton declared: “I believe in the father, son, and Holy Spirit, and I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit on many occasions in my years on this earth.”
Luo then asked, “Can I ask you theologically, do you believe that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened, that it actually historically did happen?”
Clinton replied, “Yes, I do.”
The interview continued:
Luo: And, do you believe on the salvation issue – and this is controversial too – that belief in Christ is needed for going to heaven?
Clinton: That one I’m a little more open to. I think that it is, as we understand our relationship to God as Christians, it is how we see our way forward, and it is the way. But, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve asked every Sunday school teacher I’ve ever had, I asked every theologian I’ve ever talked with, whether that meant that there was no salvation, there was no heaven for people who did not accept Christ. And, you’re well aware that there are a lot of answers to that. There are people who are totally rooted in the fact that, no, that’s why there are missionaries, that’s why you have to try to convert. And, then there are a lot of other people who are deeply faithful and deeply Christ-centered who say, that’s how we understand it and who are we to read God’s mind about such a weighty decision as that.
Luo: And your attitude toward the Bible about how literally people should take it. …
Clinton: I think the whole Bible is real. The whole Bible gives you a glimpse of God and God’s desire for a personal relationship, but we can’t possibly understand every way God is communicating with us. I’ve always felt that people who try to shoehorn in their cultural and social understandings of the time into the Bible might be actually missing the larger point that we’re supposed to take from the Bible.
Clinton, raised in the United Methodist Church in suburban Chicago, has spoken of her faith on the campaign trail, including in a speech to an AIDS conference at Rick Warren’s evangelical Saddleback Church in Southern California in November.
“My own faith journey is approaching a half century, and I know how far I have to go,” she told an estimated 1,700 in attendance. “But I have been blessed in my life, starting with my family, and in the church of my childhood, to be guided every step of the way.”
The senator pointed to a number of significant influences on her faith: “A mother who taught Sunday School and a mother who made sure that my brothers and I were there the moment the church doors opened; a father who kneeled by the side of his bed every night of his life to say his prayers; a minister of our youth fellowship who took it as part of his mission to show this group of white, suburban, middle class kids that there was a bigger world outside; a prayer group that formed for me shortly after I came to the White House, a group of extraordinary women, both Democrats and Republicans, whose love and support sustained me.”
Clinton told the Orange County church conference she’s often asked if she’s a “praying person.”
“I’ve always responded that I was fortunate enough to be raised to understand the power and purpose of prayer,” she said.
“But had I not been,” the senator quipped, “probably one week in the White House would have turned me into one.”
“It’s wonderful to know that the sustaining power of prayer is there for so many of us,” she said.
Clinton said in the November speech one of her favorite passages of the Bible is the book of James’ admonition that “faith without works is dead.”
“But I have concluded that works without faith is just too hard,” she said. “It cannot be sustained over one’s life or the generations. And it’s important for us to recognize how, here in what you are doing, faith and works comes together.”
At the November meeting, Burns Strider, Clinton’s senior adviser and national director of faith-based outreach, told WND he’s convinced the senator’s faith is genuine.
“What I find and know about the senator is very real and very honest,” he said. “You know, there’s a life of works and deeds. … There’s an amazing connection there between what Senator Clinton believes and the way she carries it out. I do find it authentic.”