Wednesday afternoon update: Looks like CNN has corrected the mistakes we pointed out. Who says GetReligion doesn't get action?
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Evangelicals' role in Iowa's Republican presidential contest seems to make nonstop headlines. That's not the case on the Democratic side.
Hillary Clinton has said advertising her faith "doesn't come naturally to me."
In a story this week on how the two major parties can't agree on the issues, let alone the solutions, the Washington Post noted:
At the Democratic debate, no candidate said the words “God,” “Christian,” “Bible” or “scripture,” and the three — Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley — do not commonly use such words in their speeches.
By contrast, the Republican candidates tend to wear their faith on their sleeves, in part to win over conservative Christian voters in Iowa and other states.
Donald Trump brings his childhood Bible with him to some campaign rallies and holds it as a prop, although the billionaire mogul drew mockery when he botched a reference to Second Corinthians during a recent speech to students at Liberty University, the Christian college in Virginia founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush often talks about his Catholic faith and carries a rosary on the campaign trail.
And Cruz, whose father is a born-again Christian and travels the country preaching, has taken to quoting scripture in his stump speeches. He cites Second Chronicles 7:14 and urges his supporters to find time every day to pray for the country’s future.
“Just one minute when you wake up in the morning,” Cruz says. “When you’re shaving. When you’re having lunch. When you’re tucking your kids into bed.”
So when a voter asked Clinton about her faith Monday and the candidate responded with a rather detailed answer, I'm surprised no one yelled, "STOP THE PRESSES!" (I kid. I kid.)
In an unusual meditation on her Christian faith, Hillary Clinton told a small crowd in rural Iowa on Monday afternoon how her belief in God has helped guide her politics and criticized those who use Christianity to “condemn so quickly” and “judge so harshly.”
“I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. I am Methodist,” Clinton said at a local school gymnasium in Knoxville. “My study of the Bible and my many conversations with people of faith has led me to believe that the most important commandment is to love the lord with all your might, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do.”
For the former Secretary of State, such a personal discussion of her faith is rare. In churches over the past year, Clinton has spoken about Bible passages she has found meaningful and discussed her Methodist upbringing, but she typically does not discuss her Christian beliefs on the campaign trail.
Religion News Service columnist David Gushee provided what I found to be a helpful analysis of what Clinton said.
Gushee's take would be interesting for political reporters to consider, including how Clinton uses terms such as "person of faith":
Mainline Protestants like Hillary Clinton tend to use the phrase “people of faith” far more often than more conservative evangelicals do. This is because they want to express respect for and commonality with people of other religions. Also notice that Mrs. Clinton emphasizes her denominational background, which is more common among mainliners than evangelicals. And Hillary here identifies her faith as communicated through her family and her church, which is a less individualistic and more communal way of talking about faith.
One of the better stories about Clinton's faith talk came from CNN, which went to the trouble of putting a face on the voter who asked the question:
Knoxville, Iowa (CNN) Jessica Manning had prayed that this moment would happen. And on Monday here in Knoxville, she got her chance to ask Hillary Clinton to describe her Christian faith.
Alas, in providing helpful context, CNN made a little mistake that seems more glaring given the "Two Corinthians" controversy involving Donald Trump:
So how did CNN handle its own "Corinthians" moment? By neglecting to mention which one it's talking about:
Manning said she was unaware of Clinton's faith before the event but felt he answer was "genuine."
This was not the first time Clinton has won over a voter with her subtle faith. Clinton chatted with Rev. Frederick Donnie Hunt during her first trip to South Carolina in May, talking to the minister about Corinthians 13 and faith in action.
"It's alive," Clinton said about the Bible. "It's the living word."
The actual Bible reference would be 1 Corinthians 13 (note to Trump: that's "First Corinthians" when spoken out loud).
Later in the same piece, CNN lowercases God:
"What you said that we only let god judge ... that means a lot to me," Manning said before hugging the candidate. "God bless you."
Elsewhere in the report, CNN capitalizes God. So maybe the lowercase version is just a typo? It wouldn't be the first time:
What about the faith of Bernie Sanders, the other leading Democrat?
As I was finishing this post, I saw this tweet from former GetReligionista Sarah Pulliam Bailey, now a religion writer for the Washington Post: