5 faith facts about Carly Fiorina: ‘What you make of yourself is your gift to God’

(RNS) Carly Fiorina formally launched her 2016 presidential run Monday (May 4). But she’s long been working the Christian talk and radio circuit, appealing to a traditional Christian voter base. Here are five faith facts about the former Hewlett-Packard CEO turned business consultant:

1. Born Cara Carleton Sneed, Fiorina grew up Episcopalian. At a recent Heritage Foundation event, she said when she was 8 years old her mother, who was also her Sunday school teacher, gave her a plaque that said: “What you are is God’s gift to you and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.” During her undergraduate years at Stanford, she studied medieval history, reading Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides and other Christian, Jewish and Islamic philosophers.

5 faith facts about Hillary Clinton, social gospel Methodist to the core

WASHINGTON (RNS) As she embarks, again, on a presidential campaign, one facet of Hillary Clinton, 67, is unchanged across her decades as a lawyer, first lady, senator and secretary of state: She was, is and likely always will be a social-justice-focused Methodist. 1) She was shaped by a saying popular among Methodists:  “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,” says Paul Kengor in his book “God and Hillary Clinton.”

As a girl, she was part of the guild that cleaned the altar at First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Ill. As a teen, she visited inner-city Chicago churches with the youth pastor, Don Jones, her spiritual mentor until his death in 2009.  During her husband’s presidency, the first family worshipped at Washington’s Foundry United Methodist Church, and Time magazine described her membership in a bipartisan women’s prayer group organized by evangelicals. 2) Clinton’s been known to carry a Bible in her purse but, she told the 2007 CNN Faith Forum, “advertising” her faith “doesn’t come naturally to me.” Every vote Clinton made as a senator from New York, she said, was “a moral responsibility.” When asked at the forum why she thought God allows suffering, Clinton demurred on theology, then swiftly turned her answer to activism: “The existence of suffering calls us to action.”

In a 1993 speech at the University of Texas, Clinton declared: “We need a new politics of meaning. … We have to summon up what we believe is morally and ethically and spiritually correct and do the best we can with God’s guidance.”  A month later, she was pictured as a saint in a Sunday New York Times Magazine exploration of that “politics of meaning” phrase.