Recently I mocked Hillary Clinton’s assertion that “the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking”, saying that it was yet another example of her willingness to pander to voters.
But reader Philip reminded me of an article that I recall reading back in 2007 where Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlett wrote about an almost cult-like group of US legislators called ‘The Fellowship’ and Clinton’s active role in it. They say her history reveals a lot about her religious convictions.
In fact, Clinton’s God talk is more complicated—and more deeply rooted—than either fans or foes would have it, a revelation not just of her determination to out-Jesus the GOP, but of the powerful religious strand in her own politics.
Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection.
The Fellowship isn’t out to turn liberals into conservatives; rather, it convinces politicians they can transcend left and right with an ecumenical faith that rises above politics. Only the faith is always evangelical, and the politics always move rightward.
The article goes on to describe the influence on her thinking of Christian theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich. These were names familiar to me from my own early days as a Christian when they were presented to me as deep and serious thinkers who were finding new ways of relating Christian beliefs to social action, though I have now forgotten all their ideas, except that Tillich was the one who introduced the idea of god as the ‘ground of being’.
Joyce and Sharlett seem to think that Clinton is not faking her religiosity but that she only invokes it at times when it is politically convenient and when it enables her to claim justification for politically advantageous actions.
It is all of a package with the Clintons. One never knows what their true convictions are except for one: that they are born to rule and to permanently occupy the halls of wealth and power.