Editor's Note:  The "V&V Q&A" is an e-publication from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.  Each issue will present an interview with an intriguing thinker or opinion-maker that we hope will prove illuminating to readers everywhere.  In this latest edition, the Center sits down with its own executive director, Dr. Paul Kengor, to discuss his latest book, God and Hillary Clinton:  A Spiritual Life.  Dr. Kengor is also a professor of political science and author of the New York Times extended-list best seller God and Ronald Reagan as well as God and George W. Bush and The Crusader.

V&V:  Dr. Kengor, in the past you wrote God and Ronald Reagan and God and George W. Bush. Now, you are about to blindside us with God and Hillary Clinton, which will be published this week as one of the major fall titles by HarperCollins. Readers of your past books are asking why you’ve written this one

Paul Kengor:  Because I’m interested in the faith of public figures—in their religious upbringing, their spiritual journey, and how their faith affects their public life and the policies they advocate, for better or worse, and whether I agree or disagree with their politics.

It’s funny that people are surprised I would write this. I never intended to write strictly on the faiths of individuals for whom I would vote. I’m supposed to be a scholar, or at least try to be. That means doing your best to put aside personal biases and do honest research and arrive at genuine conclusions based on actual facts. I would argue that being a Christian scholar requires an even closer adherence to that process. A Christian scholar has a Christian responsibility to engage in a sincere pursuit of truth. We have an especially acute obligation to try to be fair when dealing with a subject as extraordinary as a person’s religious beliefs.

The added challenge comes when dealing with individuals in the current political climate—subjects of a lot of emotion. I’ve now done faith-based books on the two current politicians that people love or hate the most:  George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton.

V&V:  So, you wrote this book because of your personal interests?

Kengor:  No, no, not just that. The other reason is the more critical:  Hillary Clinton is a very smart politician, and following the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, she quickly grasped that it was the religious-moral “values voter” who twice elected George W. Bush. Only days later, at Tufts University, she was giving a major speech on the importance of faith-based initiatives. Soon after that, she hired Burns Strider, a leading Democratic Party strategist on advising candidates how to reach out to pro-life evangelicals.

That’s why I believe this book needed to be written. As Hillary seeks to run for president, as maybe the most religious Democrat since Jimmy Carter, someone needed to examine what she believes.

V&V:  Will the media hold her feet to the fire? Governor George W. Bush was called all kinds of names simply for citing Jesus Christ as his favorite philosopher.

Kengor:  No, the media will applaud her, as it did when she campaigned in 27 churches in the two months before the November 2000 vote—including six appearances on Election Day—sometimes with literally a pool of reporters in the front pew singing and cheering, and in one case with the minister comparing her opponent to Satan. As Democrats like Hillary, Barack Obama, and John Edwards have talked openly about their faith on the campaign trail, even the New York Times seems to have gotten religion, with four major articles on the faith of Democrats carried in the newspaper in recent weeks.