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Unlike virtually every other Republican nominee from the past three decades, The Donald is infamous for his bumbling inability to speak coherently about the Bible, much less his own theological beliefs, earning him scorn from an uncommonly ecumenical consistory of critics: right-wing evangelical leaders, heads of Trump’s own Presbyterian denomination, and even Pope Francis have all condemned the businessman’s uneven approach to matters divine.Not so with Clinton, whose longstanding dedication to Methodism is well documented, and whose support among certain faith constituencies is years in the making.

“Don opened up a new world to me, and helped guide me on a spiritual, social and political journey of over 40 years,” Clinton said in 2009.

Using these writers and the Bible as a framework, Jones arranged trips and events that wrenched Clinton out of her suburban bubble.

In fact, set alongside Bernie Sanders’ devotion to secular Judaism, Clinton currently occupies an unusual position in American politics: she, a Democrat, is now the most overtly religious candidate running for president in 2016.

The importance of Clinton’s faith is often lost among America’s increasingly bifurcated media echo chamber, where right-wing outlets insist liberals cannot possibly be Christian and left-wing writers unleash (un)righteous indignation at debate moderators simply for asking Democratic candidates about their prayer life.

But she has acknowledged profound influence on her life, noting that scripture passages sent to her from members guided her throughout her tenure as First Lady.

Neither her denomination nor her conservative friends kept Clinton from taking some progressive positions, of course.

An adamant supporter of a woman’s right to choose, she once sparked controversy by suggesting that in countries where women struggle to have access abortions “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” And while Clinton opposed same-sex marriage for years, she had what commentators called an “honest shift” on the issue in 2013, finally endorsing marriage equality after she left her position as Secretary of State.

Even as she called for LGBT rights — something many saw as long overdue — Clinton still stressed the need to consider conservative congregations who “struggle to reconcile the teachings of their religion” with same-sex marriage, a possible nod to both the UMC’s ongoing debate over the issue and her own years-long, faith-rooted resistance to endorsing marriage equality.

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.

How, she asked, does Clinton — a self-identified Methodist Christian who also happens to be one of America’s most famous Democrats — grapple with the same question, and how does her faith in things such as the Ten Commandments square with her left-leaning politics? I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith.” “I do believe that in many areas judgment should be left to God, that being more open, tolerant and respectful is part of what makes me humble about my faith,” she added.

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