Trump warns evangelical leaders: "We don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion"

Oh, I wouldn’t say that. We know that when the subject of rights to “reproductive health care” come up, she’s apt to muse that “religious beliefs … have to be changed” to accommodate them.

Which, if you’re pro-life, gives you a good idea of what Hillary considers sacred.

Here’s Trump at today’s meeting with evangelicals:

Speaking to a group of top social conservative evangelical Christian leaders at a gathering in New York City, Trump said, “we don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.”

“Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no — there’s nothing out there,” Trump said. “There’s like nothing out there. It’s going to be an extension of Obama but it’s going to be worse, because with Obama you had your guard up. With Hillary you don’t, and it’s going to be worse.”

Often with Trump it’s best not to parse what he’s saying too closely since he’s only going to hedge on it later if the media calls him out. Last week he hinted that Obama might have sinister motives in refusing to mention Islam when addressing terror attacks, then denied that that’s what he meant. Sounds like he’s implying here that Obama’s Christianity has always been dubious, whether because he’s a Rev. Wright disciple or a closet Muslim or for some other unspecified reason (my pet theory is that he’s an atheist, of course), and that Hillary’s should be too. I don’t know about that. If anything, of the two of them, it may be Hillary who’s more sincerely inclined to a Wright-style view of Christianity as a handmaiden to leftist policies. Contra Trump, there actually is quite a bit out there about her religious beliefs. She was influenced as a teen by a Methodist youth minister named Don Jones. His politics were in line with hers per Paul Kengor, who wrote a book titled “God and Hillary Clinton”:

[H]e introduced more than civil rights issues. Jones followed the Methodist church on social justice, economics, class, and moral issues, including abortion. The Methodist church leadership officially supports legalized abortion. Whereas a lot of conservative Methodists have left the church because of that liberal drift. Hillary says, “I am so comfortable in this church.” That drift has been perfectly suitable for her.

This Mother Jones profile of her religious beliefs made some waves when it was published in 2007, when she ran for president the first time:

Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. “A lot of evangelicals would see that as just cynical exploitation,” says the Reverend Rob Schenck, a former leader of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who now ministers to decision makers in Washington. “I don’t….there is a real good that is infected in people when they are around Jesus talk, and open Bibles, and prayer.”

Now and again she’ll talk about what Methodism means to her on the campaign trail, as she did in January of this year. In fairness to Trump, though, it is hard to believe that the famously ruthless Clinton is religious in any meaningful way. Kengor notes in the 2007 interview I linked above that a poll taken in 2000 showed the public thought she was the second-least religious major politician in America apart from Bill. A similar poll taken about the 2008 candidates named her as the second-least religious apart from Rudy Giuliani. Part of her problem, I think, is that she’s so dishonest and so heavily scripted that you can never trust you’re getting the real Hillary even when she’s talking about something as personal as her religious convictions. Is she saying it because she means it, or is she saying it because she’s hoping to lock down some key evangelical votes in rural Pennsylvania? Who knows?

All that said, maybe a Christian who cites “an eye for an eye” as his favorite Bible verse and goes around citing “Two Corinthians” shouldn’t be casting the first stone about questionable devotion. Especially when he doesn’t need to: It’s enough to say, whether to this crowd or any other, that a Clinton presidency would be utterly left-wing on social policy whatever Hillary’s own religious beliefs might be. Exit quotation: “[P]ray for everyone — but what you really have to do is pray to get everybody out to vote for one specific person.”