The lifelong Methodist rarely discusses her religion openly, but David Gergen, a former advisor to Bill Clinton, says that Clinton draws strength from her faith.
“She has her religious faith to fall back on. It’s been very, very stabilizing for her,” Gergen, now a CNN senior political advisor, said on air before Clinton gave her concession speech. “When she takes these blows she’s one of the most resilient people you can imagine.”
Journalist Carl Bernstein, who penned the biography A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, agreed, adding that Clinton is so devout that she carries her Bible wherever she goes.
“She retreats and is so comfortable in her faith,” Bernstein said. “She is a deeply religious person, carries a Bible with her, underlines it frequently, believes in the Methodist creed of being called to service and I think she believes she has done her service.”
Clinton grew up in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois, in a deeply Methodist household. She and her siblings all attended services at First United Methodist Church, where her mother was a Sunday school teacher.
The former Secretary of State uncharacteristically addressed her faith while on the campaign trail in January. Clinton had called into a Catholic radio show in Iowa, and one listener posed a question about how the candidate aligns her political views with the Ten Commandments.
“I feel very grateful for the instructions and support I received starting in my family but through my church, and I think that any of us who are Christian have a constantly, constant, conversation in our own heads about what we are called to do and how we are asked to do it, and I think it is absolutely appropriate for people to have very strong convictions and also, though, to discuss those with other people of faith,” Clinton said. “Because different experiences can lead to different conclusions about what is consonant with our faith and how best to exercise it.”
“I think you have to keep asking yourself, if you are a person of faith, what is expected of me and am I actually acting the way that I should?” she continued. “And that starts in small ways and goes out in very large ones, but it’s something that I take very seriously.”