I generally eschew public partisan political debates. (I have lots of private views on these matters). I do not believe such debates directly relate to my vision for renewing church and culture. Don’t misunderstand me. It is not that such debates are unnecessary. It is just that I do not see how I personally have a vital role in them in terms of my ministry. My calling is to apply the Scriptures to the church, and to culture, in ways that allow people of various partisan stances, both Democrats and Republicans, to "hear" the reforming Word that judges us all.
It is because of these ministry commitments that I generally resist talking and writing about Bill and Hillary Clinton. I have read several thousand pages of analysis and biography on Bill, and I have also read hundreds of pages on Hillary. Some of my reviews, of several books, are in print in our Reformation & Revival Journal. I do not "dislike" Bill Clinton. But it is also safe to say that I think the Clintons are a positive harm to American public life. I assure you that I am not hung up on the Monica affair or on Bill’s sexual escapades. These infidelities are personally reprehensible. I think Hillary should have divorced Bill long ago. (That she hasn’t is one of the issues addressed by a recent study of Hillary.) Public figures have been immoral for centuries and some have still been relatively good leaders. And for all we know Hillary is not immoral sexually (there are rumors but spreading them is not helpful or useful). But I believe that Hillary is even more dangerous to public life than Bill was for eight years. I believe another Clinton presidency would do more harm to public and moral life in America than almost any political outcome I can imagine in 2008.
For those who doubt my last statement I urge you to read Edward Klein’s new book, The Truth About Hillary (New York: Sentinel, 2005). Klein, a registered independent with no conservative partisan agenda to promote, has exposed the real Hillary Clinton. She is a person that should cause us all to fear for our nation if she is elected president in 2008. (Klein, and I agree with him, has no doubt that she plans to run!)
What should interest thoughtful Christians in this story is that Bill and Hillary Clinton profess to be true followers of Jesus Christ. They know the language, they say the words, and they affirm the faith. They profess love for Christ, know and declare that they love our number one evangelist Billy Graham, supposedly read their Bibles for wisdom and help, and quite regularly go to church. (Isn’t it ironic that Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush are both active United Methodists? This is a pretty good picture of the theological polarities you will encounter in this troubled mainline church.) Bill even had a small group of prominent evangelical leaders who counseled him in private while he was in power in the 1990’s. (Now that strong evidence exists that Bill’s philandering days are most definitely not over I wonder where these guys are in still holding Bill accountable?) Klein suggests that Hillary loves power so profoundly that she not only abides Bill’s immorality, she abets it by supporting him in it so that she can use all of this publicly for her advantage. He has very strong evidence to back up this point.)
In a recent interview Klein flatly stated that he had come to the conclusion that the Clinton’s are "evil." Their marriage is an "evil duopoly" he adds. He went so far, in this same interview, that he concluded, "they have sold their souls to the devil." Pretty strong stuff. But definitely not without reason. Klein’s is not a "vast right wing conspiracy" book written by a far right talk show host. Nor is it a salacious or yellow journalism attack book. It is compelling, and makes for easy-reading.
Klein makes a proper distinction between broad-scale feminism, the sort that has opened real opportunities for women in American life, and gender-feminism, the sort of ideology that Hillary embraces. In Hillary’s radical feminism women simply don’t need men, and women can and should function without the support of men, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Such feminists believe they should rely only on women, thus in the end they can behave and live any way they want. It is this kind of radical feminism that allows Hillary to "stand by her man" while she does what is always in her best political interest every single time. No matter how much Hillary seeks to remake her image, so she can make a run for the White House, she remains ruthless and radically left of center.
I will have more to say on this subject in coming days. For now I encourage anyone who is interested in a wise evaluation of public figures, and their impact on culture, to not focus on the private moral failures of public leaders, but to look first at their core values. Sadly, Hillary does have rather distinct core values and they are of the sort that will destroy civic good.
The most influential person in Hillary’s formative years was a United Methodist minister. This man was Hillary’s youth pastor when she was a teen in Illinois. From this influence she began to move toward radical gender-feminism and has never turned back. The instincts that guide her private life, and political career, are still in tact, stronger than ever. Don’t be deceived by Hillary’s new image. She is a very powerful and very dangerous woman. We should thank Edward Klein for having the courage to show us why. Read the book. I guarantee that you will be troubled. It should prompt you to do at least two things. First, pray that God does not allow us to elect Hillary Clinton as president. Second, study the core values of public figues. Forget the gossip stuff and always ask, "Who is this person and what do they really believe?"
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Thanks, John, for your comments on Klein’s book. It comes somewhat as a surprise to me. I have resisted purchasing the book to read because other voices that I have usually trusted panned the book. Since I know you and do not personally know those other voices, I will make the purchase and read the book.
Though I have not read the book, I agree with your assessment of the Clintons (no surprise, I imagine), for I also have read hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of analysis of the two.
Googled “John H. Armstrong” and “Bill Clinton” after running across your piece on “The Apostle” on a Robert Duvall fansite, and was pleasantly startled to see a reply post by one of my favorite former professors.
I appreciate your realistic view of immoral, yet capable leaders. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is another example. This isn’t the level at which real culture-changing differences lies (although a relative “definition of ‘is'” is pretty destructive). Feminism has at its root a creation-order-rejection. Shudder to think how much further feminism would be institutionalized under another Clinton. I will pray with you that God has mercy on us and does not bring Hillary Clinton to presidential office.