TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 27

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: The partition of Iraq; Ukraine signs historic EU agreement; U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war; Supreme Court rules on presidential appointment powers and abortion clinic buffer zones; World War I centennial; Clinton's book and the Chinese market; U.S. advances to the next round of the World Cup

  • “Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.” [NYT]
    • “Iraqi insurgents executed at least 160 captives earlier this month in the northern city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch said Friday … ” [AP]
  • “Ukraine signed on Friday an historic free-trade agreement with the European Union that has been at the heart of months of violence and upheaval in the country, drawing an immediate threat of ‘grave consequences’ from Russia.” [Reuters]
  • “The Obama administration asked Congress on Thursday to authorize $500 million in direct U.S. military training and equipment for Syrian opposition fighters, a move that could significantly escalate U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.” [WashPost]
  • Scars of World War I Linger in Europe on Eve of Centennial [WSJ]
  • “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics is unconstitutional because it limited speech on sidewalks and other ‘public fora.’ But in dozens of other decisions over the last 30 years, the court has held that buffer zones can be constitutional.” [TIME]
  • “Handing a victory to those who fear the executive branch has overreached in recent years, the Supreme Court has reined in the President’s power to appoint officers of the government when Congress is in recess.” [TIME]
  • “The best chance in three decades to rewrite immigration laws has slipped away just one year after the Senate garnered 68 votes for sweeping reform of the system, 20 months after strong Hispanic turnout for Democrats in the 2012 election sparked a GOP panic, and five years after Obama promised to act.” [Politico]
  • Here are the 43,634 properties in Detroit that were on the brink of foreclosure this year [NYT]
  • “Hillary Clinton’s new book will not be sold in mainland China, despite efforts by her publisher, Simon & Schuster, to sell the memoir there.” [BuzzFeed]
    • “Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world between January 2001, when he left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as secretary of state…” [WashPost]
  • “Unattractive, maybe, but not undeserved. The U.S. national men’s soccer team advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup on Thursday despite losing to Germany.” [TIME]
TIME Religion

Hillary Clinton: Anchored by Faith

Brooks Kraft/Corbis for TIME

Since childhood, the former Secretary of State's Methodist beliefs have inspired public service and private devotion

This originally appeared in TIME’s book Hillary: An American Life, available on newsstands everywhere June 27.

Hillary Clinton once described her faith as the background music of her life. Whether she hears it as Chopin, Bach or even U2, she did not say, but the tune, she said, never fades away. “It’s there all the time. It’s not something you have to think about, you believe it,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. “You have a faith center out of which the rest flows.”

It can be easy to tune out background music, especially amid the political cacophony that has so often dominated Clinton’s public life. But the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady is, and has always been, a Methodist. Her faith is at once public yet personal, quiet yet bold. She is part of the second-largest Protestant group in the country, but her brand of faith has never been mainstream: Methodists make up about 6% of the total U.S. adult population, according to the Pew Research Center.

If Methodists are known for one thing, it is, as the old church saying goes, that they are always looking for a mission. Clinton is no exception. Her sense of purpose has guided her from Wellesley to Washington, and may push her to seek the White House again come 2016. Certainly political aspirations have motivated her career. But her faith has also driven her, if not equally, at least consistently, to give her life to the pursuit of a higher calling.

Step By Step

Methodism knew Clinton even before she was born. Family lore has it that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, converted her great-great-grandparents in the coal-mining villages of Newcastle, in northeast England, in the 19th century. Clinton grew up attending First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge in Chicago, where she was confirmed in sixth grade. Her mother taught Sunday school, and Clinton was active in youth group, Bible studies and altar guild. On Saturdays during Illinois’s harvest season, she and others from her youth group would babysit children of nearby migrant workers. As the Wesleyan mantra instructed them, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

One man in particular had a strong influence on her young faith: Donald Jones, who came to Park Ridge as the new youth minister when Clinton was a high school freshman. A Drew University Seminary graduate, Jones’s own theology had the imprint of theological heavyweights like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr, and he made it his mission to give the youth a strong and broad theological training. He created a “University of Life” for his youth-group students and introduced Clinton and her peers to the great works of T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Dostoyevsky and Picasso. Faith, he argued, must be lived out in social justice and human rights. Jones ensured that students connected these ideas to life in their own communities, arranging exchanges with youth groups at black and Hispanic churches in Chicago’s inner city so that his students became aware of life beyond Park Ridge. Most important, he introduced Clinton to Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to Chicago in 1962. “Until then, I had been dimly aware of the social revolution occurring in our country,” Clinton recalled in her memoir Living History, “but Dr. King’s words illuminated the struggle taking place and challenged our indifference.”

This socially active current remained the lifeblood of her faith as her political career began to take shape. At Wellesley, Clinton regularly read the Methodist Church’s Motive magazine, and she credited it with helping her to realize that her political beliefs were no longer aligned with the Republican Party and that she should step down as president of the Young Republicans. During her Yale Law School years, she worked for anti-poverty activist Marian Wright Edelman, who is now president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and researched the education and health of migrant children she had known earlier. When she finally decided to marry a young Southern Baptist named Bill Clinton in Oct. 1975, it was local Arkansas Methodist minister Vic Nixon who married them in their living room.

Clinton became the first Methodist First Lady in the White House since President Warren Harding’s wife, Florence, who followed Methodist First Ladies Ida McKinley, Lucy Hayes, Julia Grant and Eliza Johnson. She soon brought issues like health-care reform and women’s rights to the national spotlight (even though faith alone could not make what came to be known as “Hillarycare” succeed). The Clintons regularly attended the Foundry United Methodist Church, a socially active church that today is an advocate for gay and lesbian rights, not far from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “As a Christian, part of my obligation is to take action to alleviate suffering,” she told the United Methodist News Service not long after her husband was elected. “Explicit recognition of that in the Methodist tradition is one reason I’m comfortable in this church.”

While Clinton’s faith has always emphasized public service, it also has a private side that runs deep. Prayer and reflection have been at the core of her spiritual life, and she has been known to carry a small book of her favorite Scripture verses to reflect upon in quiet moments. “My faith has always been primarily personal,” she once told the New York Times. “It is how I live my life and who I am, and I have tried through my works to demonstrate a level of commitment and compassion that flow from my faith.”

At times, she would let the public catch a glimpse of this inner faith. When George H.W. Bush called Bill on election night in 1992 to concede, Hillary recalled in Living History, “Bill and I went into our bedroom, closed the door and prayed together for God’s help as he took on this awesome honor and responsibility.” Her words are an unmistakable echo for anyone who knows the Bible well. Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, preached, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

It is a reminder that Clinton is keenly aware that in America the Bible can often be a political tool. Early in 1993, she joined a women’s prayer group through the National Prayer Breakfast organized by conservative evangelical Doug Coe. Clinton called the women her “prayer partners,” in the long spiritual tradition of having people of faith pray consistently for you throughout your life. The group, however, was more than just spiritual—each woman had strong political affiliations, many of which served to help Clinton win allies across the political aisle. It included Susan Baker, the wife of President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker; Joanne Kemp, the wife of future vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp; and Holly Leachman, a Christian speaker who even faxed Clinton a daily Scripture reading or faith message throughout her time in the White House. Whether the group served a primarily political or spiritual purpose is difficult to sort out, but Clinton did say that she valued their prayers. “Of all the thousands of gifts I received in my eight years in the White House, few were more welcome and needed,” she wrote.

Clinton had plenty of raw personal moments that thrust her faith into the public spotlight. Her second year in the White House was particularly grief-stricken: she lost her father, her mother-in-law and her friend Vince Foster in the short time since Bill Clinton had been president. Two friends gave Clinton a copy of a book by Catholic priest Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son. One sentence, Clinton said, struck her like a lightning bolt: “The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

The biggest test of faith came in 1998 with her husband’s personal indiscretions. To the public, Clinton’s response was short and direct. “This is a time when she relies on her strong religious faith,” Marsha Berry, Clinton’s press secretary, said in a statement when the Monica Lewinsky news broke. But as she often did in times of personal trial, Clinton turned back to her former minister Don Jones for counsel. He pointed her to a sermon by theologian Paul Tillich called “You Are Accepted” that he had taught her youth group growing up and encouraged her to choose grace. “Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness,” Tillich wrote. “It happens or it does not happen.” Clinton explained in her memoir that she made a decision to choose grace. She also turned to Nouwen for advice on forgiveness. Prayer, Nouwen argues, takes you into the arms of God and deep into yourself to find the ability to forgive. “Do I want to be not just the one who is being forgiven, but also the one who forgives; not just the one who is being welcomed home, but also the one who welcomes home; not just the one who receives compassion, but the one who offers it as well?” he reflected in his book’s conclusion.

Clinton also developed a close relationship with evangelist Billy Graham in the months leading to and after the crisis. In 1997, at the dedication of the George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library, Clinton pulled Graham aside and asked him to talk with her. “She grabbed my head in her hands and held it there like that and looked right into my eyes and said, ‘I want to tell you about Bill,’ ” Graham later recounted in The Preacher and the Presidents. Graham, who forgave Bill Clinton as quickly as he had Nixon decades prior, encouraged Hillary to forgive her husband. Clinton held Graham’s hand the entire time during their private meeting at Graham’s New York City Crusade in 2005. “She was just so sweet,” Graham recalled. “She is different from the Hillary you see in the media. There is a warm side to her—and a spiritual one.”

Costly Grace

There’s a strain of Christian theology that believes self-sacrifice to be the highest form of faithful living. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who famously said that when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. Bonhoeffer took this literally—he was eventually executed by the Nazis for his role in the political resistance movement. God’s grace should mean something, he argued, and it should bring about justice on earth. “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church,” he wrote. “We are fighting today for costly grace.”

It can be said that Clinton knows this personally all too well. Few people in politics today know costs as closely as she does, be they political, marital, or the costs of being the first woman poised to become president. They have followed her time and again throughout her career. But she keeps on going. As she told a gathering of Methodist women in April, “Even when the odds are long, even when we are tired and just want to go away somewhere to be alone and rest, let’s make it happen.”

In a way, the costs are just the price for doing the Lord’s work. And it makes politics, and whatever her future therein is, more than just her career: it makes it her calling.

TIME China

China ‘Effectively Bans’ Hillary Clinton’s Memoir

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles, California on June 19, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Chinese publishers have declined to distribute Hillary Clinton’s new book, which includes anecdotes that are critical of Asian superpower

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, which focuses on her tenure as U.S. secretary of state, will not be sold in mainland China, according to her publisher in an interview with BuzzFeed.

Simon & Schuster said they were not able to secure translation rights with Chinese publishers and that one of the nation’s leading import agencies, Shanghai Book Traders, has refused to distribute the English-language version.

Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster, said that China’s reaction to the book is an “effective ban.”

Clinton’s memoir is seen as critical of the People’s Republic. She wrote how the country is “full of contradictions” and the “epicenter of the antidemocratic movement in Asia.”

Ironically, she also wrote of her address to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing, where she “felt the heavy hand of Chinese censorship when the government blocked the broadcast of my speech.”

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Books

A Little (Heavy) Light Reading

What’s in a name? How to beachify your serious summer reads.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Hard Choices
Hillary Clinton
At No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Clinton’s account of her years as Secretary of State is indisputably popular, but its title is a little severe for the season. We suggest a more Elizabeth Gilbert approach to capture the tale of a woman at a crossroads in life who finds new purpose traveling the world.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

My Struggle: Boyhood
Karl Knausgaard
Knausgaard, known as the Norwegian Proust, is the current darling of the literary set, but who wants to read about struggle during vacation? We borrow from another Scandinavian sensation to give his opus a title befitting a barbecue.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Piketty
This French economist’s study of income inequality in capitalist nations became the unexpected hit of the spring. Catch up with it this summer, by all means, but first give it a Tom Clancy -makeover—-in the hope that Jack Ryan will show up to rescue us from the rising social discontent Piketty predicts.

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Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution
Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz
The Roberts court is transforming the country we live in with its profound, sweeping rulings. A title like Barely Legalwould capture the complex dynamics and conceptual tensions in the court’s decisions, while also moving some extra units.

Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
Rick Perlstein
Vietnam, Watergate, the oil embargo—-nobody wants to think about that stuff on a beach blanket. Surely retitling this book That ’70s Show would put people in mind of the bright spots of the Me Decade. There must have been some.

Last Stories and Other Stories
William T. Vollmann
Vollmann’s 700-page collection, the National Book Award winner’s first fiction in nine years, is an exploration of the super-natural. Why not just call it Goosebumps? It seems accurate enough and somehow much less daunting. —Lev Grossman

TIME Congress

Charlie Rangel’s Famous Friends Are Happy He’s Still in Congress

A fixture in New York's social and political scenes, Rangel is slated to add two more years to his 44-year stint in Congress after a tight race against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton: I Don’t Need Bill to Defend Me

Global VIP's Attend Clinton Global Initiative
Former President Bill Clinton (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton look on after Hillary spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 25, 2009 in New York City. Mario Tama—Getty Images

"I don't need anybody to defend my record"

Hillary Clinton doesn’t need Bill to defend her.

That’s what the former Secretary of State said in a new interview with PBS NewsHour airing Wednesday. Her comments came after former President Bill Clinton defended remarks by the 2016 presidential contender about the family’s financial situation that critics have said show she’s out of touch with average Americans. “She’s not out of touch,” Bill Clinton said.

“My husband was very sweet today, but I don’t need anybody to defend my record, I think my record speaks for itself,” Hillary Clinton told PBS.

Still, she acknowledged some missteps in how she’s discussed her considerable wealth while on tour for her new book Hard Choices. She recently said she and Bill were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House in 2001.

“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my unartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am, what I’ve stood for my entire life, what I stand for today,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who has said she won’t decide whether to run for president again until later this year, said “you have to be a little bit crazy to run.”

“I’ve had people come through the line who tell me their stories about losing their job, about what’s happened since they got health care that has helped them, and I hear this, so I know that my life of service is the biggest reason why I would consider doing this, because I would want to continue serving,” Clinton said. “But I also know that it’s a very hard job, and it’s a job that, you know, you have to be totally consumed by, and that’s kind of the definition of being a little bit crazy, I think.”

See more of Clinton’s remarks below:

TIME 2016 Election

Bill Clinton: Hillary Is ‘Not Out of Touch’

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton listens during a session of the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative America in Denver on June 24, 2014 Brennan Linsley—AP

The former President said his wife is "not out of touch," after she came under fire for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews

Former President Bill Clinton defended his wife’s recent comments about their family’s wealth Tuesday in an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come under fire from Republicans and some Democrats for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews in promotion of her new book. Hillary Clinton said earlier this month she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001, and in an interview with the Guardian newspaper published last weekend, Clinton implied she was not among the “truly well-off,” despite more than $100 million that the former President has collected from speaking engagements alone.

The criticisms are undercutting Hillary Clinton’s efforts to highlight populist economic issues in preparation for a possible presidential campaign and lending to an image that she can’t relate to average Americans.

The former President told NBC News’ David Gregory he was not surprised the subject of their wealth came up, suggesting it was an effort by Republicans to “change the subject.”

“It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt,” Bill Clinton said in an interview airing this week on Meet the Press, in reference to the millions in legal fees they racked up in the White House. “Everybody now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic; I’m shocked that it’s happened. I’m shocked that people still want me to come give talks.”

With his wife and daughter looking on, Bill Clinton asserted that they do normal things in the tiny New York suburb of Chappaqua, the location of one of their two homes.

“The idea that now, after — I think I had the lowest net worth of any American President in the 20th century when I took office, but I still could have been tone-deaf,” said Clinton. “And, you know, now I don’t, and we’ve got a good life, and I’m grateful for it. But we go to our local grocery store on the weekend. We talk to people in our town. We know what’s going on. The real issue is if you’ve been fortunate enough to be successful, are you now out of touch and insensitive to the agonizing struggles other people are facing? That’s the real issue.”

Asked whether he could see why the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate’s comments were drawing accusations that she was out of touch, Bill Clinton said he could, adding “but she’s not out of touch.”

“She advocated and worked as a Senator for things that were good for ordinary people,” he continued. “And before that, all her life. And the people asking her questions should put this into some sort of context.”

Hillary Clinton’s remarks on wealth have evoked comparisons to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On Monday, potential 2016 rival Vice President Joe Biden highlighted his relatively meager finances at an event on working families, but called himself fortunate regardless.

Watch the video of the exchange below:

TIME 2016 Election

7 Songs We Want to Hear in the Upcoming Clinton Musical

Bill & Hillary Clinton Mayoral Inauguration
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attend the Inauguration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Jan. 1. New York Daily News—NY Daily News/Getty Images

The show arrives in New York next month

The Clintons are coming back to New York–in song. Clinton: The Musical will play at the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City from July 18-25 following its year-long run in London.

Clinton follows two Bill Clintons ['W.J. Clinton' and 'Billy'] and Hillary on their quest to save their presidency, change America and prove that ‘politics is show business for ugly people,’” the show’s description reads. Colorful 1990s characters like Monica Lewinsky, Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr also make appearances.

Here are 7 songs we think should be in Clinton: The Musical’s New York debut:

Fool on the Hill(ary)

It couldn’t have been easy stomaching Bill’s repeated chorus of, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” In this song, the musical’s Hillary would lament all of the signs she missed that Bill was playing her for the fool.

Stand by Me

Bill had a lot of ‘splainin to do back in 1998. In the musical version, after Ken Starr’s report reveals some rather explicit details about the President’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Bill would beg Hillary, “Stand by me.”

We Can Do It

In this musical number taken from The Producers, Hillary tells Bill she has decided to become the second Clinton to run for the White House. The Clintons’ chorus of “We Can Do It” is rudely interrupted by an Obama conga line of “Yes, We Can!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry

Hillary might have lost out on the nomination in 2008, but she kept her poker face and went on to become Secretary of State. Nobody puts Hillary in a corner.

Started from the (Foggy) Bottom

Hillary channels her inner Drake as she takes on the job of Secretary of State and confronts new foreign policy problems.

It’s the Hard-Knock (Choices)

As Hillary sings this ballad reminiscent of Annie, a stenographer in the backdrop furiously records the words for her biography Hard Choices.

(20)16 Goin’ on 17

The Sound of Music-inspired anthem will chronicle Hillary’s adventures and misadventures on the campaign trail as she tries to make it to the White House (again).

TIME 2016 Campaign

First Lady: U.S. Should Elect Female President ‘As Soon as Possible’

White House Summit on Working Families
US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Working Families, in Washington DC, June 23, 2014. Michael Reynolds—EPA

As long as it's not her, Michelle Obama said at the Summit on Working Families.

Michelle Obama said the U.S. is ready for a female president and that the country should elect one “as soon as possible” on Monday.

“The person who should do the job is the person who is most qualified — and we have some options, don’t we?” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts at the Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., according to video from C-SPAN3.

“I think this country is ready — this country is ready for anyone who can do that job,” she said.

Though she did not make any kind of endorsement, Obama’s remarks seem to acknowledge a possible run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose 2016 campaign future has been the subject of wild speculation. President Barack Obama has said in the past that Clinton would be a “very effective” president if she decides to run and wins.

Michelle Obama, however, isn’t thinking about any kind of run for office herself. She said her post-White House plans “definitely will not be” political, but instead “mission-based” and “service-focused.”

[Mediaite]

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