Presidential races

Clinton reaches out to Baptists in personal address

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Hillary Clinton made a more personal appeal to black Baptists Thursday, talking extensively about her own faith, a rarity on the campaign trail for the Democratic presidential nominee. 

{mosads}Speaking at the National Baptist Convention in Kansas City, Mo., Clinton described how her Methodist upbringing led her to a lifelong pursuit of social justice, easily weaving policy and gospel together. 

“It would have been easier to follow many of my law school classmates to a high-powered New York law firm, but the call to service rooted in my faith was just too powerful,” Clinton said. 

“For me, it’s always been about trying to live up to the responsibility described by the prophet Micah — that we do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” 

Clinton rarely discusses her faith on the campaign trail, though it has been questioned frequently by her Republican rival, Donald Trump. Clinton’s campaign told The Washington Post Thursday that she has a plan to begin opening up more. She started that effort in earnest Thursday, detailing how her faith affected her upbringing and guided her throughout her life. 

“I had the great blessing to be raised by a family in a church that instilled in me a deep and observant Christian faith and practice,” Clinton said, adding that her father, a “former Navy man,” could often be seen praying on his knees before bed every night, and that God helped her mother through a “painful childhood.”  

She recalled that her youth minister took Clinton and her white peers to the inner city of Chicago for fellowship in African-American churches. 

And she detailed her trip to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, saying she waited in long line “just to shake his hand and look into his eyes.” 

“His words, the power of his example affected me deeply and added to the lessons of my minister: to face the world as it is, not as we might want it to be,” Clinton said.

Clinton sought to differentiate her black voter outreach from that of Trump, who visited a black church for the first time as a presidential candidate last week, a trip Clinton’s campaign dismissed as “pandering.” She largely stayed away from addressing her GOP rival, not mentioning him by name, but took a swipe at his recent efforts to court black voters.

“I’m sure some of you are sick and tired of politicians who think they can just show up at election time, say a few nice works and then just earn your support. You and your congregation deserve better than that,” Clinton said. 

“You know better than anyone that people who look at the African-American community and see only poverty, crime and despair are missing so much.” 

She criticized Trump’s “what do you have to lose” pitch to African-Americans that has focused on crime and lack of jobs and education in inner cities. She also took the chance to hit him for questioning President Obama’s birthplace.

“We are facing a candidate with a long history of racial discrimination in his business, who traffics in toxic conspiracy theories like the lie that President Obama is not a true American,” Clinton said, receiving booming applause and amens. “If he doesn’t even respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?” 
“We must keep calling him out and rejecting the hateful, bigoted rhetoric that seeks to pit Americans against each other and continue making the case in every way for our vision of an America that is stronger together,” Clinton said. 
Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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