Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary joins people of faith to fight HIV and Malaria

cross-posted from Daily Kos; originally published Dec. 2 and one of my favorites that I would like to share with this community

Conventional wisdom says that most evangelical Christians would not be receptive to a Democratic candidate much less Hillary Clinton. Conventional wisdom be damned: Hillary's speech at the Global Summit on AIDS & The Church at the Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, CA., late Nov. left organizers and churchgoers praising the performance of our party's candidate for the Presidency.

An article in the Christian Post, noted that Hillary's "gutsy" Nov. 29 appearance at the church softened evangelical's perceptions of her. More from the article at the flip:

"I saw a softer side of her that I haven't seen before," said Saddleback Church member Cindy Logan to WorldNetDaily. "She was very articulate. I liked her approach. I liked the fact that she's been to Africa, she's been with people who have been affected by AIDS,and she's here because of her heart for people. I appreciated that."

Despite initial misgivings, congregation member Tonie Kennedy had high praise for Hillary after hearing her ideas about fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria - not to mention gaining a new understanding that Hillary is a person of faith, brought up in the Methodist Church.

Kennedy, said inviting Clinton "was a good decision" after hearing her speech.

"It shows me she has her own faith," Kennedy said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "and that she has an interest in what's going on in the churches."

I am not an evangelical and was not in attendance, so I will leave the verdict on her appearance up to someone with a greater understanding of evangelical community. Vivian Berryhill, president and founder of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses, is quoted as having said about Hillary's appearance:

"Sen. Clinton has the boldness to broaden her shows she's done her homework and she's open to new ideas," said Vivian Berryhill, president and founder of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We're very religious in this country, and these are the people who helped elect [President] Bush," Berryhill said as she motioned around the Saddleback worship hall. "So for her to come here is a gutsy move."

The praise was universal. The article noted that Clinton won a standing ovation from the audience of over 1,500 Christians pastors, church members, and NGOs.

It goes on to say that while some church goers had misgivings about inviting Hillary to speak, first term Senator Senator Barack Obama drew a much larger uproar when he appeared at the Saddleback AIDs summit last year. Protesters demanded that Richard D. "Rick" Warren, founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, rescind Obama's invitation.

Hillary proposed doubling the HIV/AIDS research budget within the NIH to 5.2 million annually, and vowed to spend $50 billion on the care, prevent and treatment of HIV/AIDS by 2013, according to various news sources. Hillary's universal health care plan will also improve medical treatment for US citizens living with the disease, and she supports Federal needle exchange programs.

She also told the crowd of 1500 that she would work diligently to end Malaria-related deaths in Africa, where greater than 1 million people die from the disease every year.

Indeed, her plan is ambitious. Hillary wants to dedicate $1 billion in new funding to stamp out Malaria with the goal of ending deaths altogether by the end of her second term. The plan also investment in providing children with free, basis education, expanding opportunities for women, as well as working to eliminate the debt of the world's poorest nations.

Groups working to fight malaria lauded the plan and Clinton's leadership on the issue. "The Roll Back Malaria Partnership applauds Hillary Clinton's bold commitment to fight malaria," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board.

Read more about Hillary's plan for fighting HIV/AIDS and global development on her Web site, including very detailed descriptions about what she will achieve if she is elected President. se/view/?id=4437

"Although all leading presidential candidates were invited, Clinton was the only one to show up for the annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. She delivered a bipartisan message that emphasized the role of the church in addressing AIDS."

Full text of Hillary's speech. h/view/?id=4455

Saving the best for last, a quote from her speech:

"Twenty-five years ago, when men - mostly young gay men - began dying from a disease that had no name, we could not have, and certainly did not, talk about it in church. It would not have been proper. It would not have been polite. It would have been discomforting for so many of us.

But the disease itself was not polite, and ignoring it did not make it go away. It only made the problem worse, because the disease fed on ignorance and fear and, let's be honest, on prejudice. We are taught to heal the sick. To love them as our own. But twenty-five years ago, too many died alone, ashamed to tell their families what had made them ill."
Gutsy indeed.

More of Hillary's thoughts on HIV/AIDs:

Tags: Evangelicals, 2008 elections, AIDS, Democratic Party, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, HIV, Malaria, Poverty, Primaries (all tags)




If it were about issues, like this and so many more. Hilary would be even farther ahead among Democrats. It's amazing that her experience continues to be denigrated, as if what she's done has been worthless. Thanks for a great positive diary. Perhaps Obama should 'lose' on his poor judgment, but I'd rather she win on the issues.  

by anna shane 2008-03-18 01:25PM | 0 recs
Don't worry, anna...

I think Hillary will ultimately win on what she's actually doing on the issues we care about. She'll do fine. :-)

by atdleft 2008-03-18 01:31PM | 0 recs

farther ahead?  By every measure I have seen she is farther behind.  Pledged delegates, states won, popular vote et. al.  Farther behind.

What she has done is not worthless.  She has been a positive, powerful voice on a great variety of issues, a true states' person and an undeniable leader, not only as a First Lady, but also in her tenure as a Senator.  She deserves, no, commands, our respect for her accomplishments.

With apologies (as I, once, before I came here, was likewise a member of her camp and a defender of the Clinton's in general).  She failed, in her hubris and her reliance on her inevitability, her mismanaged campaign, though sometimes amusing, but more often raising questions about her ability to manage something as complex and diverse as this country and, her failure to plan beyond "Super-Tuesday" which lead to a strategy of duplicity in which she failed to address the issues (such as the one running above) and, instead, opted to engage in distortion and meaningless hyperbole (shame you..., the skies will open up... etc...) that served to place her exactly where much of America saw her to begin with: a cut-throat contender holding no scruple above winning, not in the interest of the country she loves and the people she sincerely wants to help, but in the interest of satisfying her own sense of entitlement.  

It may be time to face it: this race was Hillary's to lose.  She may, in the light of Obama's defining, triumphant and history making speech in Philadelphia today, to do just that.

by UrbanRedneck 2008-03-18 09:47PM | 0 recs
I agree..

with anna shane 100%.  People do tend to forget the good things Hillary has done over the years because they are so busy demonizing her.  It's truly tragic that she and Bill have been turned into the "white establishment" who don't cry for black people.

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree..

It's truly tragic that she and Bill have been turned into the "white establishment" who don't cry for black people.

And shame on the folks who attempted and continue to attempt to perpetuate this outrageous lie.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree..

Demonizing Hillary seems to be a cottage industry - begun by the Repubs who literally hate smart and strong women.

America is known for manufacturing bogeymen and scapegoats to make us feel soooo good - and superior.
But I don't know of another American in modern history that has been demonized like Hillary.
Do you?

Oh - and she's still standing - and eager to fight for us!

by annefrank 2008-03-18 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree..

I know of two other truly great Americans and great Democrats who were vilified, just like Hillary. Says Robert F Kennedy Jr:

It's worth recalling the historical parallels with an earlier presidential couple. "No other word than hatred will do," observed a May 1936, Harper's Magazine feature "They Hate Roosevelt" by Marquis W. Childs. "The phenomenon to which I refer goes beyond objection to policies or programs. It is a consuming personal hatred of President Roosevelt and, to an almost equal degree, of Mrs. Roosevelt."

Childs deemed this "fanatical hatred" so intense and irrational that it could only be explained as the product of "abnormal psychology." Historian William Manchester described how Roosevelt haters "abandoned themselves in orgies of presidential vilification." William Bird, curator of political history at the Smithsonian Institution said that "by 1936, the 'Roosevelt haters' had developed into a well-defined cult among the nation's business elite," their lackeys in the press and on the editorial boards and among right wing Christian theocrats led by fascist radio host Father Charles Coughlin.

"In history, this hatred may well go down as the major irony of our time," wrote Childs. "The majority of those who rail against the [Roosevelts] have to a large extent had their incomes restored and their bank balances replenished since the low point of 1933," before FDR came to power. "That is what makes the phenomenon so incredible. It is difficult to find a rational cause for this hatred."

The haters as a well-defined cult... hmmm... That sounds familiar somehow. My theory is that such hatred, while a vile and despicable thing, is also a mark of greatness on the object of it. Only a really great leader, who truly embodies progressive change, is "threatening" enough to the forces of reaction to evoke such debased feelings and actions.

Continues Robert F Kennedy Jr:

"People in power with privilege don't want to be challenged at all," Hillary told me recently as we discussed the repetitive rhythms of history. "FDR's policies rescued capitalism, thereby saving the fortunes and restoring the incomes of so many of the same people who would curse his name over the dinner table. They somehow still felt threatened because they don't like to be questioned."

"And there is something of the same going on today. If you challenge the pharmaceutical companies, the health insurance companies, if you think investment fund managers should be taxed at the same rate as nurses and firefighters, you run into this vitriolic response."

Irrational hatred was the powerful drug that intoxicated the Gingrich Congress to impeach President Bill Clinton at the time when he enjoyed 65% popularity with the American people and had steered the nation through eight years of peace and unprecedented prosperity.

Hillary's supporters should be heartened by the fact that intense hatred is often accompanied by equally strong support. Roosevelt won four landslide victories against his opponents and crafted the architecture for the most humane, successful, generous features of modern American government.

They can also take comfort in Hillary's proven ability to transform intense hatred into loyal support. I recently toured upstate New York's traditionally Republican counties which she has transformed through leadership and political acumen, into rock solid Hillary Clinton strongholds.

With a playful wink she told me, "One of my favorite pins in my political pin collection is "I Don't Like Eleanor Either." It reminds her that it's not just the president who is targeted by the haters. But "about anybody who cares about and stands up and fights for the changes that our country needs to have."

Hillary Clinton is a truly great American and will be a truly great and courageous President. It's an unfortunate fact of life that this greatness and this courage to fight for ordinary people also come with additional burdens.

Fortunately there is one way to show her that she doesn't need to carry those burdens all alone: DONATE NOW and help drive Hillary to victory - in Pennsylvania now and in the Union come November.

by DemAC 2008-03-19 12:20AM | 0 recs
It's not that they forget the good

It's that they remember "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Hillary's support, until she decided to run for president, for DOMA.

It's her supporters who like to excuse, minimize, and ignore those - so they can pretend that Hillary's record is wholly without blemish.

by Drew 2008-03-18 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not that they forget the good

That is nothing but misleading. How about some Donnie McLurkin while you pounder? /14070

by owl06 2008-03-18 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not that they forget the good


spot on.

by devoted1 2008-03-18 08:23PM | 0 recs
Like I said, minimizing.

If you think that Hillary's long-term support for a law that forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage is equivalent to that, then you really don't understand the impact of the law, or don't care - which is exactly my point.

by Drew 2008-03-19 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not that they forget the good

That is not true.  I know she is not perfect.  I also know she isn't the heartless bitch that others portray her as being.

by JustJennifer 2008-03-19 09:50AM | 0 recs
An excellent POSITIVE diary!
by sricki 2008-03-18 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: An excellent POSITIVE diary!

You're welcome. They can't all be negative :-)

by owl06 2008-03-18 01:32PM | 0 recs
All too often...

We forget that there are so many GOOD reasons to support Hillary. The owl just gave us another great reason: She knows how to actually bring people together to work on real solutions on the issues we care about... Like HIV/AIDS and global health care.

Good for Hill! :-)

by atdleft 2008-03-18 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: All too often...

That's something we can all 'flock' to ;-)

by owl06 2008-03-18 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

This Obama supporter is reccing because it's positive.

by shef 2008-03-18 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

see, we can get along! :-)

by owl06 2008-03-18 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

Way to stay on the issues - thanks for posting this!

by alegre 2008-03-18 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

you're welcome.... you've been posting positive, substantive diaries like this here at MyDD for months!

by owl06 2008-03-18 01:58PM | 0 recs
Obama's speech to Saddleback

Good to see a positive candidate diary on an important topic. In case anyone is interested and isn't aware, Obama also spoke at Saddleback back in Dec., 2006 on the subject of HIV/AIDS. The speech can be found here: ce_against_ti/

by DPW 2008-03-18 02:02PM | 0 recs
Hillary joins people of faith

Now whos broadining the base???? :)

by liberal youth 2008-03-18 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

Unless you are gay.
Or a woman, or a scientist, or - - -

Please, spare the the condemnation of Trinity United Church of Christ and praise of a church that denies evolution, relegates women to an inferior status, and relegates gay people to eternal damnation.

The United Church of Christ, on the other hand, was the first denomination to have women and African American ministers.  It was one of the earliest denominations to oppose slavery, advance women's rights, promote free public education, work for justice in the world, and acknowledge the dignity of GLBTI people.

Please, stop playing the right-wing game.

by johnnygunn 2008-03-18 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary

How about some right wing music? /14070

by owl06 2008-03-18 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary


by devoted1 2008-03-18 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Now, this is a church worth attending...

Beautiful diary, owl06, and a testimony to Hillary's true rationale for running: she's putting people first.

With Hillary we get action, not flowery words. We get real solutions, not talk, talk, talk about trandescending this or that.

With Hillary - we get a President!

by DemAC 2008-03-18 11:59PM | 0 recs


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