Source: The New York Times
Against the soundtrack of a soulful ballad, the advertisement showed Mrs. Clinton in a series of warm embraces, including one with a grieving mother. The onscreen text included the phrase “do all the good we can, in all the ways we can, for all the people we can.”
Through secular eyes, the advertisement linked Mrs. Clinton to some resolutely uncontroversial concepts — hope, kindness, love, good. In doing so, it sought to soften the perception that she is untrustworthy and unlikable.
From a theological viewpoint, however, the commercial communicated in profound and coded ways. The music evoked a cappella gospel quartets. The text echoed an axiom of the Methodist Church, Mrs. Clinton’s lifelong denomination. The very title of the spot could well have been “Agape and Chesed.”
“Agape” is the Greek word for the Christian ideal of “the love of God operating in the human heart,” as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once put it. And “chesed” is the Hebrew term for goodness or mercy, which the first full English translation of the Bible, made by Myles Coverdale in 1535, rendered as “lovingkindness.”
The religious resonances typify a strain of spiritual language that has been a part of Mrs. Clinton’s general election campaign, reaching its apogee at theDemocratic National Convention.