For years, Clinton has acknowledged her deep and abiding Christian faith. But she has been reluctant to go public with it. When asked about her convictions, she rarely says the word “Jesus.”

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HILLARY Clinton needs Jesus. And he may be the key to helping her beat Donald Trump.

For decades, the Republican Party has seemingly held a monopoly on religious devotion. GOP candidates have routinely invoked their supposed faithfulness to bludgeon their seemingly more secular Democratic opponents.

But that is not going to work this time.

For years, Clinton has acknowledged her deep and abiding Christian faith. But she has been reluctant to go public with it. When asked about her convictions, she rarely says the word “Jesus.”

And for good reason. That the GOP selectively quotes the Bible to justify everything from tax policy to health care is asinine. Nevertheless, God plays well with many constituencies.

It is time that Clinton steps up to the pulpit.

She grew up going to a Methodist church. There she developed a strong commitment to the same social gospel that drove the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Her faith, she explains in the rare moments that she will discuss it, has helped fuel her passion for social and economic justice.

Democrats like Clinton have been staunch supporters of the First Amendment’s religion clauses — often against their own interests.

When the pious Jimmy Carter faced off against the Hollywood actor and divorcee Ronald Reagan, Carter’s conviction that he needed to separate his faith from his policy initiatives sunk him.

Clinton does not have to be another Carter. She should wear her faith on her sleeve — proudly.

Jesus can help Hillary protect women’s rights, alleviate poverty and safeguard Mexican families living in the United States.”

Clinton should battle for the family-values vote. Which is more Christian — to be married three times (ahem, Donald Trump) or to stick by and forgive the many transgressions of your wayward husband? To boast of your riches (despite Jesus’ warning that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom) or to get your hands dirty working alongside the poor?

To her credit, Clinton believes in the separation of church and state.

Unfortunately, vast numbers of Americans, as they step into polling booths, do not. It’s past time the Democrats recognize this.

Nor is Bernie Sanders the answer to the Democrats’ religion problem. If he becomes the nominee, he will certainly face substantial anti-Semitism.

But that may not be his biggest challenge. Since the Russian Revolution in 1917, Americans across the political spectrum have linked communism with atheism. More than a political philosophy, communism, explained long time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, was a religion.

And to be a socialist, many further reasoned, was to be a communist. The last time we had a socialist running for major political office on a Democratic ticket, religion played an outsized role.

In 1934, the novelist and muckraker Upton Sinclair nearly won the California governorship. But his political opponents — from the editors of The Los Angeles Times to major Hollywood producers — made religion central to the campaign.

They capped off their anti-Sinclair crusade by paying famed evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to hold an anti-Sinclair religious rally on the Sunday before Election Day at the Shrine Auditorium. In reflecting on his loss, Sinclair claimed that the religion issue had done him in.

Sanders will face an equally motivated opposition and an army of politically savvy, anti-Sanders preachers if he wins the nomination. The GOP has not even begun to talk about religion in the context of a Sanders campaign. No doubt this is because they want to see him defeat Clinton in the primaries before they bloody him. They know that he will be far easier to beat.

The Democrats are at an important crossroads in the evolution of their party. They have three choices. They can nominate Sanders and watch conservative bigotry and hate rise to a new level. They can nominate Clinton and encourage her to run a campaign like Jimmy Carter, hoping that her personal virtue will say enough about her faith. Although it won’t.

Or they can take a page from the Republicans’ playbook and encourage Clinton to pitch her policies on taxes, welfare, foreign policy, health care, immigration and innumerable other issues as rooted in the social gospel values that she has spent a lifetime cultivating and embodying.

There is no doubt that the recent hyper-politicization of religion has been bad for the nation. But here, finally, is an opportunity to use it for good.

Jesus can help Clinton protect women’s rights, alleviate poverty and safeguard Mexican families living in the United States.

She only needs to let him.