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Pastor Hillary? New Book Suggests Clinton's Next Stop May Be the Pulpit

After her second failed attempt at the presidency, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be gunning for ministry. A book presenting her daily devotions on the campaign trail suggests a more faith-based career path may be in Clinton's future.

"Hillary Clinton wants to preach. That's what she told Bill Shillady, her longtime pastor, at a recent photo shoot for his new book about the daily devotionals he sent her during the 2016 campaign," The Atlantic's Emma Green reported. Shillady's book about Clinton's devotions, Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Clinton, releases later this month. Clinton herself wrote the forward.

Green also noted that "scattered bits of reporting suggest that ministry has always been a secret dream of the two-time presidential candidate: Last fall, the former Newsweek editor Kenneth Woodward revealed that Clinton told him in 1994 that she thought 'all the time' about becoming an ordained Methodist minister. She asked him not to write about it, though: 'It will make me seem much too pious.'"

"Given her depth of knowledge of the Bible and her experience of caring for people and loving people, she'd make a great pastor," Shillady told The Atlantic. Shillady did not predict that the former secretary of State would go to seminary or pursue an official lay position in the Methodist Church, but he did suggest she might preach.

"I think it would be more of ... her guest preaching at some point," the pastor said. "We have a long history of lay preachers in the United Methodist Church."

Strong for a Moment Like This chronicles Shillady's practice of sending Clinton sections of scripture in a devotional every morning. Sometimes, he asked other pastors to contribute to the project, and he enlisted the more than 100 women clergy who formed a group called "We Pray with Her."

The pastor has also included segments of his email correspondence with Clinton, including her responses to a new prayer or parable. For instance, in Clinton's concession speech, she quoted a verse from Galatians, saying, "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9). Shillady had sent her that verse in a devotional a few weeks earlier.

Many Americans don't see Clinton as a particularly religious person, Green admitted. During her husband's presidency, Clinton's religious speeches brought the ire of progressives, while conservatives doubted her sincerity. During the 2016 campaign, she would discuss prayer and faith at black churches, but largely avoided a religious message.

"Hillary finds it hard to talk about religion a lot," Mike McCurry, who served as Bill Clinton's press secretary during the early Monica Lewinsky scandal, told The Atlantic. Clinton "comes from the Methodist tradition, which, like many more liberal, mainstream Protestant denominations, is a little more buttoned up."