Religion, Politics & the Clintons
From 1980 to 1992, any discussion of religion and politics necessarily focused on the rise of the religious Right and its support of the Republican Presidents who came to power during those years. Now that Bill Clinton, a Democrat, is President, the religious Right no longer enjoys access to the White House. This is not to say, however, that Clinton is indifferent to the idea of soliciting support from religious groups. In fact, quite the opposite is true. What has changed is the nature of the religious alliance Clinton is forging.
While Clinton has quietly been making friends with some evangelical pastors, it is the religious Left, as it might be called for reasons of symmetry, that is the favored religious constituency of this administration. As early as last March, Clinton met with a group of liberal-to-moderate clerics and promised to stay in touch. He has kept this promise, and he has been rewarded for it: one United Methodist leader was so enthusiastic about Clinton’s budget proposal that he called it a “tiny down payment toward the tithe of justice and love.” Clinton has naturally appreciated such support: “I’ve been so criticized by the religious Right community, it’s good to have religious people who understand what I’m trying to do.”
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