By ZACH NOBLE
The words of John Wesley have been widely linked to Hillary Clinton's Methodism these days.
Quoth the 18th century theologian:
The words are emblematic of Clinton's publicly apparent creed: nice sounding, malleable, wide open to interpretation.
When it comes to her definitions of "good," Clinton has consistently taken the most popular side of serious moral questions.
From the 90s through 2008, Clinton argued that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," but in 2016, with louder pro-choice voices in the Democratic party, Clinton ditched the "rare" caveat and supports federal funding for abortions. Clinton's new abortion fervor is a clear break with Methodism's mild opposition to abortion and loosely follows Joe Biden's ethically stunted line of (not) thinking.
In 2004, Clinton defended the "sanctity" of traditional marriage, calling on the "fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman, going back into the mists of history." By 2013, she announced wholehearted support for gay marriage, saying, "I support it personally [emphasis mine] and as a matter of policy and law." This shift came at exactly the same time that American public opinion swung firmly in favor of gay marriage. Methodists, as a denomination, still oppose gay marriage.
What is a religion supposed to do, if it's not providing guidance on serious moral questions?
Liberal publications, like the Jesuit-run America magazine, may glow over Clinton's quiet faith.
But the public expression of her faith seems hollow and, ultimately, as merely supplemental as the faith of Donald Trump.
Trump is happy to use religious ministers as props, but he doesn't actually ask God for forgiveness. "I don't bring God into that picture," Trump said, before reverently referring to the Eucharist as "my little cracker."
Sure, there is an ultimate distinction between the two candidates. Clinton worships at the altar of secular humanism; Trump just worships himself.
But the essential sameness is that Christianity does not take center stage in either candidates' public life. Christianity is merely a tool they'll use when it aids their pursuit of power -- Clinton self-righteously, Trump vulgarly -- and one they'll apparently ditch the moment it becomes unpopular or inconvenient.
Maybe Clinton is committed to Jesus in her heart. Maybe Trump is too.
But for any pundit who wants to credit either candidate with a genuine, underpinning-your-career kind of faith, the available evidence is thin.