Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton staged a personal speech about her faith, baring her soul to the congregation and talking personally about her commitment to her faith.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” Clinton said, citing Scripture as she took the stage at the National Baptist Convention in Kansas City.
Clinton pointed out that she was born and raised as a Methodist, but was married to Bill Clinton, who was a Southern Baptist and had many friends who were Baptists.
She also told the congregation that she occasionally used to teach Sunday school.
“We are commanded to love,” she said. “Indeed, Jesus made it his greatest commandment. When I used to teach the occasional Sunday School class, I often taught on that lesson. That’s a hard commandment to obey. Some days it’s really hard for me.”
After delivering a litany of praise for pastors around the country and promising multiple government programs to improve the lives of Americans nationwide, Clinton began talking about her own faith.
She admitted that it “doesn’t always come naturally to a Midwestern Methodist” but said that she had a “deep and abiding Christian faith” as a result of her childhood.
“I still remember my late father – a gruff former Navy man – on his knees praying by his bed every night,” she said. “That made a big impression on me as a young girl, seeing him humble himself before God.”
She explained that she “embraced an activist social justice faith” citing St. Francis of Assisi’s advice to “Try to preach the gospel always, and if necessary use words.”
She also repeatedly cited Scripture, to emphasize the importance of doing good works for other people.
“The scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. The Epistle of James tells us we cannot just be hearers of the Word, we must be doers,” she said. “And I believe that with all my heart.”
She also cited Scripture influencing her decision to work at the Children’s Defense Fund for half a year.
“For me, it has always been about trying to live up to the responsibility described by the Prophet Micah that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God,” she said.
She also reminded everyone in the congregation that nobody was perfect, even in politics.
“I have learned to be grateful not just for my blessings but also for my faults – and there are plenty!” she said. “I’ve made my share of mistakes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. Everyone here today has stumbled on their own stony paths. It’s grace that lifts us up, and grace that leads us home.”
Clinton has opened up about her faith before, particularly at a January town hall in Iowa as she was battling Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.
After calling herself a Christian and citing Scripture, Clinton criticized religious conservatives for judging others.
“I have been very disappointed and sorry that Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly,” she noted disapprovingly.