STATEMENT FROM THE EDWARDS FAMILYShe is the author of two books: Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, and Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities. Having not read them, I can't say what it is --- spiritual or otherwise --- that animates her sense of grace, but it's not God. As noted at American Prospect in 2007, "The Original Theology of Elizabeth Edwards":
Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive. She is resting at home with family and friends and has posted this message to friends on her Facebook page.
You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces—my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.
I spent the weekend in Chicago, on behalf of the National Women's Editorial Forum, at a nonpartisan conference called BlogHer. There, Elizabeth Edwards took questions from an audience of women who blog ....
Every question asked of her seemed to be answered in an unusually open manner, especially when the topic of religion came up. Asked by Beth Corbin of Americans United for Separation of Church and State to explain how her faith beliefs inform her politics, Elizabeth Edwards gave an extraordinarily radical answer: She doesn't believe in salvation, at least not in the standard Christian understanding of it, and she said as much:I have, I think, somewhat of an odd version of God. I do not have an intervening God. I don't think I can pray to him -- or her -- to cure me of cancer.
After the words "or her," Mrs. Edwards gave a little laugh, indicating she knew she had waded into water perhaps a bit deeper than the audience had anticipated. Then she continued:I appreciate other people's prayers for that [a cure for her cancer], but I believe that we are given a set of guidelines, and that we are obligated to live our lives with a view to those guidelines. And I don't that believe we should live our lives that way for some promise of eternal life, but because that's what's right. We should do those things because that's what's right.
Wow, I thought. That sounds awfully like, "Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try..." What's Jim Wallis gonna make of that? Haven't the campaign communications consultants schooled her in how to talk the God-talk?
This is interesting.
Clearly Elizabeth Edwards wants to put her faith in something, be it hope or strength or anything. But not God. I wonder if it's just bitterness, that she's been forsaken by more than just her estranged husband --- that she's been forsaken by Him. And imagine if she'd have become First Lady. Americans generally expect outward expressions of faith in our presidents, Christian faith especially, and thus in our First Ladies as well. The Democratic base obviously doesn't care, as we can see in the "wow factor" expressed by the author at the American Prospect. Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards' non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists. Still, at her death bed and giving what most folks are calling a final goodbye, Elizabeth Edwards couldn't find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter? I guess that nihilism I've been discussing reaches up higher into the hard-left precincts than I thought.