Skip to comments."The University of Life" from The Unfolding story of Hillary Rodham Clinton
Posted on 07/07/2005 9:00:03 AM PDT by blueberry12
Hillary was fourteen-year-old ninth grader when the Reverend Donald G. Jones arrived as the new youth minister. He was an intense, energetic thirty-year-old, newly minted from divinity school in Manhattan. The students, not Jones, called the class "The University of Life." It was an apt name, for the Reverend Jones possessed an expansive mission to open his students to his view of the wider world and transform them.
Don Jones was determined to break open the comfortable cocoon of Park Ridge and expose his protégés to the disturbing realities of the contemporary world. He brought in an atheist to debate the existence of God. He upset the congregation with a discussion of teenage pregnancy. He conveyed his deep commitment to the theology of Paul Tillich, who redefined Christianity in terms of the German idealistic tradition and existentialism. Jones believed, as Tillich wrote, that the major flaw of contemporary Christianity was its deep roots in middle-class culture. Its revival, Tillich argued, could come only from a critiques of society that took its inspiration from Marxist lines of thought.
In this new spin on Christianity, sin and grace, death and redemption were no longer the key features of theology. The major problem facing American youth, the Reverend Jones informed his students, was a crisis of meaning and alienation. Hillary carried this forward to her "politics of meaning."
The Reverend Jones jolted his students with a bracing mixture of counterculture and high culture, the poems of E. E. Cummings, J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and a discussion on Picasso's Guernica. He drew explicit parallels between the utopia of Karl Marx and the heavenly kingdom. He took the group into inner-city Chicago, where Hillary for the first time came to know poor people, "trailer people," black people, Hispanic people--families who, he thought, would not have been welcomed in Park Ridge, even if they could have afforded it.
The University of Life took Hillary and her friends to nearby farms, where the students set up a program to baby-sit migrant children while the parents toiled. For the first time, Hillary performed social work for the poor, this time for Hispanic migrant laborers and their families.
"I don't think those kids had ever seen poverty before," Reverend Jones recalled to Arkansas journalist Meredith Oakley. "Religion, going to church, tended to function there for most people to reinforce their rather traditional conservative values, and so when I came in and took that white, middle-class youth group into the inner city of Chicago, that was a quite radical." [Judith Warner, Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story, p. 19.]
According to Hillary, no experience with the University of Life had a greater effect on her than an outing, on one spring night in 1962, when the Reverend Jones took the students on a church bus to Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue to hear a lecture by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr King spoke on "Sleeping Through the Revolution," challening the audience to awaken to the challenge of ensuring the civil rights of all. King met with the students one by one backstage. Hillary shook his hand and later recalled teh experience as "eye-opening." [American Heritage, December 1994.]
Later, Hillary met Barry Goldwater after reading The Conscience of a Conservative. But the lessons from the lantern-jawed Arizonan were losing ground to Reverend Jones and the University of Life.
Two years after coming to Park Ridge, the Reverend Jones went on to teach in New Jersey, eventually becoming a professor of theology at Drew University. Many of his congregants were glad to see him go, regarding him as a radical leftist preacher of the "social gospel." But he had left a process of change within the girl who had once been crestfallen when Barry Goldwater had lost in his race for the presidency. She no longer trusted the "conscience of conservative," but found herself thinking more and more in terms of mass social action, of a Christian socialism where the restraints of Christianity gradually gave way to the demands of politics and power.
High school and the University of Life gave Hillary leadership training and a growing sense of mission, but she was still not picking up awards for congeniality. She described one incident at a chilly soccer game when, after remarking on how cold it was, a competitor said, "I wish people like you would freeze to death." When Hillary asked how the girl could feel that way when the girl didn't even know her, the young soccer player responded, "I don't have to know you to hate you." Hillary recounted this story years later as one of her first experiences with discrimination...
Hillary learned to rob from the rich to give to the poor
while skimming plenty off for expenses...
The REAL Marxism...The REAL left
I think this article should have been titled "The Making of a Communist Leader"
Yes, all the really creepy people have the same alien look in their eyes.
Missing Barbara Olsen. She really put Hillary's feet to the fire in that book.
Just realized I've not read this book; I was thinking about The Final Days. Am looking forward to reading Barbara Olson's Hell to Pay because Olson was so very spot on with Hillary and Bill Clinton.
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