But as Clinton inches ever closer to becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, it’s worth reflecting on how deeply her theological beliefs impact her worldview — and her politics.
Hillary Clinton, born Hillary Rodham, grew up in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois the eldest child of middle-class parents Hugh and Dorothy Rodham.
Eager to pass on their faith, the family became members of First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge.
The congregation mirrored its suburban surroundings — conservative, mostly white, and primarily concerned with the immediate community.
Hillary was captivated to the core by it.” Although Jones’ spiritual tutelage expanded Clinton’s social consciousness, it didn’t turn her into raging liberal overnight.
When she attended Wellesley College after high school, she served as president of the school’s Young Republicans club and identified as a “Goldwater Girl.” But Clinton never forgot Jones’ lessons, and once sent him an angst-written letter in which she complained that other students rejected her chosen identity as “a mind conservative and a heart liberal.” It was one of the first hints of what would become Clinton’s lifelong project of slow-moving liberalization, a glacial shift that roughly matched the United Methodist Church’s own methodical trudge leftward over the course of several decades.
Like many families, politics was a touchy subject: Hugh, a conservative small business owner and outspoken Barry Goldwater supporter, was a Republican, while Dorothy was a “closeted Democrat.” But while the two differed quietly on politics, they found common ground in a shared devotion to Methodism, a tradition founded on the teachings of minister and theologian John Wesley.