Hillary Clinton and Mother Teresa
An inconvenient truth about the adoption home founded by the former first lady and the nun from Calcutta.
12:00 AM, Feb 24, 2010 • By PAUL KENGOR
A few years ago, I wrote a book on the faith of Hillary Clinton. Released in 2007, the book flopped, dismissed by conservatives who didn’t believe Hillary believed in God and liberals who didn’t care that Hillary believed in God.
I felt compelled to insert a word of caution in the book’s preface: I noted that the Clintons are like a hurricane to those who come near them. I hoped this wasn’t likewise true for their biographers, leaving us, too, in their wreckage of misleading information.
Lo and behold, a case in point is provided by reporter Emily Belz in World magazine, in a story getting coverage from only a handful of sources. Belz caught Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s keynote at the National Prayer Breakfast, where Clinton extolled the “common ground” she once found with Mother Teresa. The two had come together to open an adoption center, the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children, near the northwest section of Washington, D.C. In a 30-minute address, Clinton devoted five minutes to the home.
I certainly wasn’t surprised by the reference. The home is a warm example of Hillary Clinton and Mother Teresa—rabid abortion advocate and abortion opponent—joining in a wonderful cause. Mrs. Clinton touts it whenever she can.
Belz, however, had a thought: Why not call the home to see how things are going? She did just that, only to find it closed—for almost 10 years now.
Hmmm, Clinton and her spokespersons never mentioned that.
Let me back up a bit, to give a fuller glimpse of the saga:
Hillary Clinton’s encounter with Mother Teresa began, it just so happens, at the National Prayer Breakfast, way back in 1994. That year, the keynoter was a special guest: Mother Teresa. Nearly 3,000 packed a huge room. Near the dais were the president and first lady—the Clintons.
Unlike in typical years, where the keynoter sits among the assembled waiting for others to finish speaking, Mother Teresa appeared from behind a curtain only when called to the platform, and then slowly hunched toward the microphone. She began talking about Jesus and John the Baptist in their wombs, about their mothers, and how the “unborn child” in the womb of Elizabeth—John—leapt with joy, heralding the arrival of Christ as Mary neared Elizabeth, a moment known as “The Visitation.”
Mother Teresa next spoke of love, of selfishness, of a lack of love for the unborn—and a lack of want of the unborn because of selfishness. Then, the gentle sister made this elite group uncomfortable: “But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, ‘If you receive a little child, you receive me.’ So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus.”
After an awkward silence, the entire ballroom erupted in a standing ovation that seemed to last minutes. It felt even longer to the embarrassed Clintons (and Al and Tipper Gore), who remained seated and did not clap.
Undeterred by the Clintons’ coldness, the tiny, aged lady was only warming up. Abortion was, said Mother, “really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? ... This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Hillary Clinton was shaken. But it wasn’t over.
After the talk, the weak nun persisted, taking the matter directly to the first lady. As Clinton recalled, “[S]he wanted to talk to me. Mother Teresa was unerringly direct. She disagreed with my views on a woman’s right to choose and told me so.”
Mother Teresa said something that resounded with Hillary. She offered an olive branch: “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. I’m willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.” She said, “I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption.”
That was something Hillary could applaud. She made clear that while she supported legalized abortion, she preferred more adoptions as an alternative. The nun told the first lady she had placed over 3,000 orphaned babies into adoptive homes in India, and informed the first lady of her goal of establishing a home in Washington, D.C. She invited Hillary to India for a tour, and Mrs. Clinton obliged.