Editor’s Note: This is Tony’s original endorsement of Hillary, published on RNS in April of last year.
I like Hillary Clinton. We are personal friends. But that’s not the only reason why I am hoping she becomes our next president. My support for her candidacy is based on the fact that she is brilliantly qualified for the job.
As the first lady of Arkansas, Hillary demonstrated her administrative abilities. She took on the task of improving the state’s school system, and even her political opponents had to admit that she made significant progress in lifting an educational system from the doldrums into respectability. Of course, the huge bureaucracies of the U.S. government are much more complicated than the school system of Arkansas, but this was good training for undertaking the huge task of being the chief operating officer for the mega-agencies in Washington.
Hillary also understands how Congress works — a needed skill since legislative gridlock has characterized Washington over the last several years. Amid dire problems, the last session of Congress proved to be one of the least productive of any in our nation’s history. It seemed like the White House and those in the Congress were not able to negotiate. But Hillary is a brilliant negotiator. When she was a senator, she demonstrated that she could work across party lines to forge progressive policies that made for a better America.
She was by no means perfect in making policy decisions. After all, she believed Dick Cheney when he told her that Saddam Hussein had developed weapons of mass destruction, and that led her to vote for the second Iraq war. She learned from that experience, and her future carefulness will keep her from making that kind of mistake again. She was, however, honest enough to admit that she regretted her vote, and honesty is something we need in Washington.
As secretary of state, Hillary demonstrated her ability to negotiate foreign policy. She joined the two female secretaries of state who held that position previously and — as those on both sides of the political aisle will admit — were outstanding voices representing America’s interests around the world.
Clinton modeled being a faithful wife and a loving, effective mother at a time when we needed such a model. Many people thought, in the midst of a crisis that would have destroyed most marriages, she showed that the promises she made to her husband on their wedding day were binding through better and worse, that she really meant it. We need a president who keeps her promises.
Some of my evangelical friends raise questions about her views on abortion. But Clinton is one of the few candidates on the political stage who has a plan for cutting the abortion rate in America by at least 50 percent. She points out that 72 percent of the women who have abortions do so for economic reasons, not because they want to terminate the life of the unborn. When single, economically strapped women, who are working a minimum wage job become pregnant, they have to ask themselves if they have the means to support themselves and assume the additional responsibility of supporting a newborn. Furthermore, such women know that if they take time off to give birth they could possibly lose their desperately needed jobs. There are few support systems like day care for such mothers that will enable them to earn what they need to cover the basic expenses required for raising children. Considering these and other factors, sadly, these women often think abortion is the only viable economic option.
She is committed to addressing each of these problems, and thus diminishing the urgency that drives so many oppressed women into having abortions. As a pro-life Democrat, I am encouraged by the possibility that Hillary could be our next president. Abortions will not be ended through legislation. We must find ways to keep women who want to give birth from being driven by economic forces into curtailing their pregnancies.
I know Hillary to be a committed Christian. As a teenager, her religious beliefs were heavily impacted by hearing a sermon by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The youth pastor of her Methodist church mentored her through her teenage years into being the kind of holistic Christian who faithfully engages in the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer. As a senator, she was one of the most faithful attendees of the Senate’s weekly prayer meetings.
Given all that, I am more than willing to do all I can to help Hillary get elected. I believe in her. And you should too.
RE: Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo offers Tuesday’s closing benediction at DNC.
“God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat” – Tony Campolo
Tony Campolo, who served as the Clintons’ spiritual adviser during their administration years, is honored to have been asked to offer tonight’s benediction at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Tony sees this invitation as both a civic and a Gospel opportunity. God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, and Christians have a responsibility to preach the Gospel, to care for the poor and oppressed, and to call others to do the same.
As secularism becomes the prevailing cultural norm, it is more important than it has been in a long time for Christians to be known, not for what they oppose, but for what they believe in. And to call our country to reconciliation, and a renewed commitment to justice and peace in the trying times in which we live.
That is what Tony hopes to convey in his prayer tonight, and that is what he is working to build in his work at the Campolo Center for Ministry at Eastern University.
About the Campolo Center for Ministry
The American church is in decline in our post-Christian, secular society. Churches are closing, and our best and brightest are not entering ministry.
Tony Campolo has worked tirelessly in ministry for over five decades. The Campolo Center for Ministry is the next and biggest step in his vision for Christian leadership development and church renewal—a partnership with his alma mater Eastern University that sets out to transform the church by identifying and preparing the next generation of church leaders. Learn more: CampoloCenter.org.
– Tony’s Team at the Campolo Center at Eastern University