Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary joins people of faith to fight HIV and Malaria
by owl06, Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:19:08 PM EDT
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 base...it 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.
"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. http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/speec 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: