God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life

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9780061363870: God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life

For nearly three decades, political observers have sought to understand the complex relationship between Hillary Clinton's faith and her politics. Now, in this first spiritual biography of the former first lady, acclaimed historian Paul Kengor sets out to answer the elusive question: What does Hillary Clinton believe?

Based on exhaustive research, God and Hillary Clinton tells the surprising story of Hillary's spiritual evolution, detailing how her lifelong religious beliefs have intertwined with her personal history to make her the politician that she is today. Born into a strict Methodist family and raised on a spiritual diet of private prayer and self-reliance, Hillary, at a young age, used the Methodist Church's emphasis on community service to catalyze her involvement in the changing world.

From this unique foundation, Kengor looks at how the chaos of 1960s and 1970s America challenged Hillary's religious underpinnings, as she found herself drifting from her roots. Following her faith through her relationship with an aspiring politician named William Jefferson Clinton, Kengor examines the motivations that eventually led Hillary back to church as first lady of Arkansas and how her revitalized beliefs shaped her time there—from her Bible-study group to her husband's infidelities as governor.

Although Hillary endured many hardships in Little Rock, her days in the White House tested her faith like no other time. Sifting through the spiritual impact of Hillary's ill-fated experimentation with New Age mysticism and the disastrous Monica Lewinsky scandal, Kengor investigates how she relied on God for the power to save her marriage and survive the most difficult chapter of her political career.

While this spiritual chronology of Clinton's life is important, it does not tell the full story of her belief. Here Kengor fills in the gaps between the facts, analyzing the fraught relationship between her faith and her secular policies—most notably how she reconciles her pro-choice stance on abortion to her Christian beliefs—and scrutinizing how these policies have changed over the course of her political career. What emerges is an unexpected portrait of a political figure whose ideals have been shaped by both the power of her politics and the depth of her faith.

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About the Author:

Paul Kengor is the author of the New York Times extended-list bestseller God and Ronald Reagan as well as God and George W. Bush and The Crusader. He is a professor of political science and director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College. He lives with his wife and children in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

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