Hillary Clinton has written a foreword for a book inspired by devotionals that pastor Bill Shillady prepared for her during the presidential campaign, and she is considering speaking out more on a topic she has long held private: religion.
"Hillary Clinton wants to preach," begins a piece in The Atlantic by Emma Green, relaying a comment from Shillady. Clinton has been discussing going into ministry, and Shillady thinks the former first lady could definitely do what he does.
"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 said.
Newsweek's Kenneth Woodward also broached this topic when he revealed that Clinton talked "all the time" about becoming an ordained minister in the 1990s. She asked Woodward not to divulge her secret, however.
"It will make me seem much too pious," she said about considering ordination.
Green argues such an attitude "perfectly captures Clinton's long campaign to modulate—and sometimes obscure—expressions of her faith." But Shillady and others consider Clinton's faith central to her public service and blamed critics for obscuring her faith.
"It's been there all along," Shillady said. "The general public didn't necessarily want to accept the fact that she's a Christian because there's so many critics out there about the Clintons."
"[Clinton] doesn't wear her religion on her sleeve, she just practices it," Shillady said. "She follows the edict of what's attributed to St. Francis: 'Preach the gospel always, and if you need to, use words.'"
Shillady's book, Strong for a Moment Like This, may be the start of a more public-facing spirituality for Clinton. Shillady is publishing the book after her suggestion and said it is free from concerns about image or politics.
Shillady prepared daily devotionals for Clinton from the start of her campaign, and he also partnered with over 100 female ministers who formed the group "We Pray With Her." Shillady holds that the book finds its center in spirituality and not politics, despite its origins in the campaign.
"It's an inspirational book," he said. "I do not believe that she encouraged me to write this book in any way to change the image of her. She really found [the devotionals] so helpful to her in the midst of the contentious campaign that she felt that people would find some hope … from it."
Still, Shillady gets in "subtle shots" at President Donald Trump and intends to respond to current events. Green wrote that some of those aspects of the book are intended to vindicate Clinton's spirituality as well as her political record.
Being out of politics, however, struck Shillady as the right path for Clinton.
"I think her faith is stronger," Shillady said about Clinton after the election. "I haven't noticed anything different, except that I think she is more relaxed than I've ever seen her."