- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 13, 2000

We all know that Hillary Rodham Clinton is devout she has told us so herself on many occasions. And we have seen her walking down the church steps hand in hand with Bill (who might have had a stellar career in televangelism), the pair of them equipped with a photogenic Bible they so discretely like to carry.

This editorial page is not one to question anyone's faith, especially someone's who has been as sorely tried as Mrs. Clinton. Unfortunately, she does not extend the same courtesy to her opponent, New York mayor and senatorial candidate Rudy Giuliani. He has "injected religion into" the political race between the two of them, so she says, and she is fuming about it. An eight-page fund-raising letter sent out by the Giuliani campaign last fall warned New York voters of Mrs. Clinton's supposed preference for coercive, collective, Big Government solutions to problems, as opposed to private initiative and the efforts of faith-based groups: "Hillary Clinton further revealed her hostility towards America's religious traditions when she attacked Gov. George W. Bush's idea that we should look toward America's faith-based charities more than government programs to address problems," the letter said. It also complained about Mrs. Clinton's predilection for "liberal judges" who oppose such things as posting the Ten Commandments in public schools.

From on high came the wounded reply: "As a person of faith, I am appalled that he would make false statements about me and my respect for religion in order to raise money for his campaign," said Mrs. Clinton.

But the key to understanding her faith in faith is to parse the statement made by Mrs. Clinton's spokesman Howard Wolfson, who said that she supports faith-based charities to carry out social programs "if it is done in a constitutional manner."

Now, Democrats getting anything with even a faint whiff of the religious about it into the public arena without squalls of indignation and protests about the separation of church and state is about as easy as getting a camel through the biblical needle's eye. Neither school prayer nor the Boy Scouts' right to exclude homosexual scoutmasters have a prayer of gaining support.

Mr. Giuliani didn't "inject religion" into the race unless one takes the position that by pointing out Mrs. Clinton's lack of regard for the sensibilities of believers (as in her criticism of Mr. Giuliani for seeking to end taxpayer funding of an obscene and gratuitously provocative display of the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung) Mr. Giuliani has violated some sacred trust.

This approach is typically Clintonian, of course. During the impeachment scandal, the president would routinely decry the way his opponents had "injected" talk of sex and corruption into the public debate. Heaven help us all.

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