New York Times political reporter Amy Chozick is once again trying to warm up Hillary Clinton’s bitter-cold image with a Saturday story headlined “Some in Iowa Surprised by Hillary Clinton’s Ease With Faith.” As they have since 1992, liberal journalists play the “Methodist card” when they want to imbue their favorite social-justice warrior with a Christian sparkle.
Talking about God could help her connect and seem authentic, Chozick offered:
But for Mrs. Clinton, a candidate who struggles with questions of authenticity, her evident ease at discussing her faith and Scripture — and how they help explain why she is running for president — might well help her connect not just to the faithful but to nonreligious voters as well.
“It doesn’t reach the bulk of Democratic voters,” said Mike McCurry, a former White House press secretary to Bill Clinton who is now a professor of public theology at Wesley Theological Seminary. “But in Hillary’s case, what you want to hear is about character and values and what motivates her.”
Mike McCurry was press secretary during the Lewinsky scandal, and routinely pleaded ignorance to the press corps about what was going on in the White House with the interns. Did Hillary display “character and values” in that escapade? Did she tell the truth about what she knew? Or did she claim on national TV that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was lying about her husband? Reporters actually use Monicagate as a Methodist Moment for Mrs. Clinton, as sick as that sounds.
Mrs. Clinton, who friends say turns to religion in difficult times, has increasingly seized opportunities, some spontaneous and others planned, to speak more openly about her faith, including how it undergirds her politics.
In Knoxville, Mrs. Clinton referred to the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew after Jessica Manning, 36, a high school guidance counselor who opposes abortion rights, said she was conflicted about being Roman Catholic and supporting a Democrat.
“What does the Sermon on the Mount really mean?” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the sermon in which the eight Beatitudes are outlined by Jesus Christ, including “Blessed are the meek.” “It sure does seem to favor the poor and the merciful, and those who in worldly terms don’t have a lot, but who have the spirit that God recognizes as the core of love and salvation.”
Excuse me, liberals: What does this biblical analysis mean? That the poor and merciful are the ones that enter Planned Parenthood to buy a “terminated pregnancy”? Who seems more meek amd deserving of mercy than the unborn baby? Mrs. Clinton told Jimmy Fallon how proud she was of being endorsed by the nation's leading abortion provider because "I believe so strongly that we have to fight against these efforts to undermine and demonize the work that Planned Parenthood does."
Chozick made Jessica Manning, apparently struggling to reconcile her Catholic opposition to abortion and her tilt toward the Democrats, sound like an undecided voter. CNN’s Dan Merica presented Manning as someone more committed, a Hillary backer trying to persuade other voters to support Hillary (video from Showtime's series The Circus):
"In these next few months, as I am supporting you and defending you to my Republican friends," said Manning, a self-described Clinton supporter who lives in conservative Pella, Iowa. "I am just curious how you would say your beliefs align with the Ten Commandments and if that is something that is important to you?"
The question, which visibly moved Clinton, delves into an area of the candidate's life that is deeply personal but rarely discussed. Clinton's friends and confidants describe the former first lady as a devout Methodist whose faith guides much of what she does.
No one questions whether this inquiry was planted to guide reporters to discuss the “deeply personal but rarely discussed” issue of religious faith, timed to pounce as Bernie Sanders tells reporters he’s not exactly religious. No one finds it a bit strange that Hillary Clinton would say other Christians are ruining the image of Christianity by being too quickly and harshly judgmental.
"I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith, but I do believe that in many areas judgment should be left to God," Clinton said. "Being more open, tolerant and respectful of people who have different life experiences is part of what makes me humble about my faith."
Clinton said she is has grown "very disappointed and sorry that Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemned so quickly and judge so harshly when I think part of the message that I certainly have tried to understand and live with is to look at yourself first."
Manning was moved by the answer, telling reporters after the event that Clinton "nailed" it.
Like Chozick, Merica didn't evaluate whether Hillary has been "open, tolerant, and respectful" of conservative Christians, or Republican impeachment managers, not to mention "narcissistic loony toon" Monica Lewinsky or Kenneth Starr. Mrs. Clinton then arranged for an aide to ask Jessica Manning to a personal meeting to discuss her allegedly devout Methodism.
Clinton has said in the past that she turned to her faith during the most difficult times in her life, including the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal of the 1990s.
After the event in Iowa, a Clinton aide asked Manning, at the request of the candidate, to come to a small room to chat with her more about faith.
"Thank you for asking," Clinton said after Manning said she had prayed they would be able to have this conversation. "It was so thoughtful."
"It was exactly what I wanted to hear," Manning told the former first lady, who told the mother that it's important to get people "to start listening and talking to each other" about faith.
"What you said that we only let God judge ... that means a lot to me," Manning said before hugging the candidate. "God bless you."
That's all CNN found interesting, Hillary and a Hillary backer exchanging praises.