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Fact or Fiction: Hillary Clinton Wants to Become a Preacher

08-09-2017
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First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator from New York, U.S. Secretary of State, 2016 Democratic nominee for President of the United States – Hillary Clinton's resume is impressive.

But Now, according to The Atlantic, she wants to add a new title –Preacher.

Apparently, as Clinton works to figure out her next steps and recover her image from her November loss, religion is taking over a more central role in her life. 

The Atlantic reportedly got its information from Clinton's longtime pastor, Bill Shillady, who says Clinton told him of her plans at a recent photo shoot for his new book about the daily devotions he sent her during the 2016 campaign. 

"Given her depth of knowledge of the Bible and her experience of caring for people and loving people, she'd make a great pastor," Shillady told The Atlantic, but noted it would likely be more of a lay position such as a deaconess.

"I think it would be more of … her guest preaching at some point," he said. "We have a long history of lay preachers in the United Methodist Church."

Shillady's book, "Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton," reportedly has a foreword by Clinton herself.

"Clinton is writing the foreword, the first time post-election readers will have a chance to hear directly from her about her faith during this time," the teaser for the book says.

Apparently ministry has been a long-time passion for Clinton. According to The Atlantic:

"Last fall, the former Newsweek editor Kenneth Woodward revealed that Clinton told him in 1994 that she thought 'all the time' about becoming an ordained Methodist minister. She asked him not to write about it, though: 'It will make me seem much too pious.' The incident perfectly captures Clinton's long campaign to modulate—and sometimes obscure—expressions of her faith."

However, Mark Kellner writes for GetReligion that The Atlantic's piece on Clinton's faith leaves out some important information. 

"They omitted huge chunks of context linked to her various pronouncements on religious issues," he writes.

Kellner points to the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, a bill that would protect religious expression in the workplace.

In 2004, then-Senator Clinton, told members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church that she supported the bill. By 2016 she was fully opposed to the First Amendment Defense Act, which supporters said would bolster free exercise protections. 

"It's absolutely unacceptable. Allowing people to use their personal religious beliefs as grounds for discrimination against LGBT people in the public sphere goes against everything we stand for. And I know a lot of deeply religious people who agree with me," Clinton said to The Advocate, a gay-issue publication. 

Kellner goes on to say that it's clear from Trump's victory in the 2016 election that Clinton's "faith" didn't resonate with voters.

"The fact remains that many people of faith were willing to take a flyer on Republican nominee Donald J. Trump, whose relationship with Christianity is sui generis to say the least, because Trump's positions on the free exercise of religion resonated more with them. Millions voted, not for Trump, but against Hillary Clinton," wrote Kellner. 

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