A good number of conservatives are salivating at the prospect of making Edward Klein’s new book about Hillary Clinton the centerpiece of their summer reading. After all, The Truth About Hillary promises to be a real page-turner, with some horrible revelation or insinuation about Hillary in virtually every paragraph.
The set-up for the book is a sure winner. To cultural conservatives–and especially to Christian conservatives–Hillary Clinton is representative of everything that is wrong with liberalism. Her ideological feminism, her early work developing a radical concept of children’s rights, her “it takes a village” approach to raising children, and her activism for abortion and an entire constellation of liberal causes is enough to place her right at the center of conservative concern. The fact that she is married to former President Bill Clinton just adds fuel to the fire–and anxiety to the picture. The fact that she appears poised to enter the presidential race raises the stakes even further. For all these reasons, Edward Klein’s book seems just the thing–a repository of documentation that can justify and intensify Hillary hatred. What’s wrong with this picture? Just about everything.
Christians should repudiate this book and determine to take no pleasure in it. Why?
First, because we are morally obligated to tell the truth, to honor the truth, and to respect the truth. A quick look at The Truth About Hillary is enough to reveal the lack of documentation that would justify many of his charges and ‘revelations.’ Rumor is no substitute for evidence, and unnamed sources that dish out personal dirt are morally reprehensible and worthless in terms of credibility.
Second, because taking pleasure in this book will divert our attention from what really matters–the battle of ideas and the hard work of intellectual engagement. We should direct our energies to engaging the policies, proposals, and ideological commitments represented by Hillary Clinton—not to dirt-throwing contests over scandals without evidence.
Third, because we know that character really does matter–and this means the character of those on both sides of a political contest or controversy. Those who oppose Hillary Clinton’s policies and ideas will reveal true character by focusing on those policies and ideas–not on scandalous rumors. Inevitably, character will reveal itself, especially in the crucible of a heated political contest.
Fourth, as Christians, we are not to take pleasure in the real or imagined wrongdoing of others. We must not give ourselves permission to read a book that will encourage us to feel morally superior about ourselves, even as it poisons our hearts about someone seen as a threat to what we cherish.
Read something edifying this summer. So many books . . . so little time. Don’t waste your time–or tempt your heart–with The Truth About Hillary.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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