Hillary Clinton on Her Christian Faith: Judgment Left to God; Be Open, Tolerant, Respectful

During a Monday campaign event in Iowa, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton explained how her Christian faith has guided her views on politics and life.

(Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Knoxville, Iowa, January 25, 2016.

At a campaign rally at a local school gymnasium in Knoxville, Iowa, the former Secretary of State, who rarely discusses her Methodist faith and upbringing on the campaign trail, explained to the small crowd that she is indeed a "person of faith."

Clinton's discussion on her faith was not planned as it was a response to a question posed by 36-year-old high school guidance counselor Jessica Manning.

Manning mentioned that she was Catholic and a Democrat because of her faith. She added that she was unsure whether she should vote for Clinton in the upcoming Feb. 1 Iowa Caucus and asked the former first lady of the United States if the Ten Commandments mattered to her.

"Thank you for asking that. I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. I am a Methodist," Clinton explained, according to the New York Times. "I have been raised Methodist. I feel very grateful for the instructions and support I received starting in my family but through my church, and I think that any of us who are Christian have a constantly, constant, conversation in our own heads about what we are called to do and how we are asked to do it, and I think it is absolutely appropriate for people to have very strong convictions and also, though, to discuss those with other people of faith."

(Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Knoxville, Iowa January 25, 2016.

"My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do," Clinton added. "There is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up, to find faith themselves that I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith."

Clinton added that her faith has called her to be more tolerant toward others who don't share the same religious beliefs.

"But I do believe that in many areas judgment should be left to God, that being more open, tolerant and respectful is part of what makes me humble about my faith," Clinton asserted. "I am in awe of people who truly turn the other cheek all the time, who can go that extra mile that we are called to go, who keep finding ways to forgive and move on."

In a seeming knock on conservative Christians, Clinton implied that Christians often misuse their faith to condemn others without looking at themselves in the mirror.

"I have been very disappointed and sorry that Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly," Clinton argued. "When I think part of the message that I certainly have tried to understand and live with is to look at yourself first, to make sure you are being the kind of person you should be in how you are treating others."

Clinton admitted that she is no angel either.

"I am by no means a perfect person, I will certainly confess that to one and all, but I feel the continuing urge to try to do better, to try to be kinder, to try to be more loving, even with people who are quite harsh," Clinton said. "So, I think you have to keep asking yourself, if you are a person of faith, what is expected of me and am I actually acting the way that I should? And that starts in small ways and goes out in very large ones, but it's something that I take very seriously."

Clinton also advised that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount should be something that people need to really "pay attention to."

"There's a lot of great Bible studies: What does the Sermon on the Mount really mean? What is it calling us to do and to understand?" Clinton explained. "Because it sure does seem to favor the poor and the merciful and those who in worldly terms don't have a lot but who have the spirit that God recognizes as being at the core of love and salvation."

Although many conservative Christians feel that abortion is sinful and staunchly oppose the procedure, Clinton suggested last April that religious beliefs against abortion have to be "changed."

"Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will," she explained. "And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States."