(RNS) Talking about one’s faith doesn’t come naturally to a “Midwestern Methodist,” Hillary Clinton admitted.
Then the Democratic presidential nominee spent a half-hour doing just that, quoting Scripture, hymns and even St. Francis of Assisi as she described her “activist, social justice faith – a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-your-hands-dirty faith.”
“I am grateful for the gift of personal salvation and for the great obligation of the social gospel to use the gift of grace wisely, to reflect the love of God and to follow the example of Jesus Christ to the greater good of God’s beloved community,” she said. “That’s what led me to devote my life in the ways I could to serving others.”
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Clinton’s remarks came Thursday (Sept. 8) evening at the National Baptist Convention USA’s 136th annual session at the Kansas City Convention Center. They follow Donald Trump’s address over the weekend to the predominantly African-American congregation at Great Faith Ministries International Church in Detroit.
The National Baptist Convention is one of the nation’s oldest and largest African-American religious organizations.
In her speech, Clinton remembered her father kneeling beside his bed to pray and her mother teaching Sunday school. She remembered traveling from Chicago’s suburbs into the city with her church youth minister to attend a black church for the first time and to hear a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and shake his hand.
She recounted the “hard lesson” she has taught as the occasional Sunday school teacher: “We’re not asked to love each other, not urged or requested. We’re commanded to love. Indeed, Jesus made it his greatest commandment.”