Republican candidate Carly Fioriana describes early understanding of faith like hands-off CEO

by Tobin Perry, |
Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015. | REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LORTON, Va. (CHRISTIAN EXAMINER)— Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says it is her faith that sustained her through the often painful attacks that come in a bruising presidential primary race, according to a recent Christianity Today interview. Those battles have become even more intense after Fiorina's bold stands against Planned Parenthood in two highly celebrated debate performances. The media, she says, has resorted to "harassing" her daughter and granddaughter and saying the former Hewlett-Packard CEO lied about her corporate beginnings as a secretary.

"One Christmas Eve I asked God for help in resolving my doubts. And the next morning on Christmas I woke up with a clear mind. It suddenly became blindingly obvious to me that there were signs all around me."

"It would be easy to be scared off by that kind of opposition; in fact, it is what they hope," the 61-year-old Fiorina told Christianity Today in an interview published earlier this month. 

"The people who get on television and call me a liar hope that I will be scared off. So it's really important to get centered in the love of the Lord and get centered in the reality of, 'Of whom shall I be afraid?' and 'The Lord is the stronghold of my life.'"

The Christianity Today interview comes as Fiorina's poll numbers have begun to level out and drop in recent weeks after a meteoric rise following her debate performances.

In the interview she points to her regular practice of spiritual disciplines as a key part of what keeps her faith going through the ups and downs of the campaign.

"I begin every morning with a daily scripture," the 61-year-old Fiorina told Christianity Today. "I'm one of those people who has to spend the first time in the morning with silence, quiet, contemplation, Scripture and prayer."

Fiorina grew up Episcopalian, but it was a 2007 speaking opportunity during the Willow Creek Leadership Summit that ultimately led her to a more personal faith. She detailed this journey in a testimony she gave a year ago for the annual meeting for Opportunity International, a Christian microenterprise ministry where she served as a board member until she started her presidential run in May.

Previously, Fiorina said in the testimony, she believed in God but described her understanding of him in ways reminiscent of a hands-off CEO. She had doubts about the divinity of Jesus and many of the basic truths of Christianity.

The visit to the leadership conference sparked a one-year conversation with Willow Creek Community Church's pastor, Bill Hybels, where the Barrington, Ill., pastor challenged many of her intellectual doubts about biblical Christianity.

She noted how many of those signs came from the science and technology world where she had spent so much of her career. For example, she thought of the GPS in her car, which knows where she's driving and reminds her to turn around when she deviates from the course.

That newly rediscovered faith became even more important in the coming months and years as she lost her father, developed breast cancer and experienced the loss of her stepdaughter to a drug battle.

At an Iowa church last April Fiorina admitted that after the passing of her stepdaughter that "it was my husband Frank's and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ that saved us from a desperate sadness," according to reporting by the New York Times.

A mid-October Fox News poll says Fiorina is tied with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for fifth place among Republican candidates with 5 percent support. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush all rank higher than Fiorina.