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Hillary Clinton praises Bible, Methodist upbringing

Published: Tuesday, June 24 2014 7:25 a.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, July 28 2014 10:52 a.m. MDT

Hillary Clinton shakes hands with a young girl as she signs her book, "Hard Choices."

Ed Andrieski, Associated Press

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Take note, religious voters: Hillary Clinton recently named the Bible as the most influential book in her life. And while the former secretary of state's latest memoir is called "Hard Choices," her answer about what book has influenced her most seemed an easy decision.

"At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement," Clinton said in an interview with The New York Times.

Clinton has been in the news almost daily as she tours to promote her new book, which sold roughly 100,000 copies in the first week it was on sale earlier this month, Politico reported. It currently holds the No. 1 spot on The New York Times combined print and e-book nonfiction best-sellers list.

Eleanor Clift, in a column for The Daily Beast, wrote that skepticism is a natural reaction to Clinton's answer about the Bible, but she noted that close advisers confirm the politician's faithful response. "Laugh if you will, for what politician could go wrong citing the Bible, but those who know Clinton say this is for real," Clift wrote.

"The three things you need to know to understand Hillary Clinton is that she's a Midwesterner, she's a Methodist and she was born in the middle of the 20th century," said Lissa Muscatine, Clinton's friend and former speechwriter, in an interview with The Washington Post. Methodism is "really a huge source of personal spirituality to her — she's very religious, which most people don't know about her — and also a huge source of her commitment to social justice," Muscatine said.

Clinton spoke about the role faith has played in her life at the United Methodist Women's Assembly in April. "Clinton said that while she was secretary of state, faith led her to start initiatives that fought against human trafficking, promoted maternal health care in developing countries and, above all, inspired her to fight for women's rights," The Deseret News reported.

Describing her childhood church, Clinton said worship helped her believe in herself. "I love the doors that it opened in my understanding of the world. I loved the way it helped to deepen my faith and ground it," Clinton said in her speech.

Clinton's supporters have already organized a "Faith Voters for Hillary" Web presence, highlighting how she would serve religious communities as president. Paul Raushenbush, executive religion editor at The Huffington Post, tweeted over the weekend that @Faith4Hillary now has over 38,000 Twitter followers.

See related story: Firstborns are most ambitious, especially girls, study says

Email: kdallas@deseretnews.com Twitter: @kelsey_dallas

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