Elizabeth Edwards Dies
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, who coped publicly with breast cancer and marital infidelity, died today.
(This post was updated at 12 p.m. on 12/08):
"Today we remember Elizabeth Edwards who was an outspoken advocate for health-care reform and used her position of influence to speak out for those who could not get the care they needed," Sojourners posted on its politics blog. She wrote a cover story for Sojourners magazine on health care in 2008.
Adele M. Stan (who was there on behalf of the National Women's Editorial Forum) wrote on "The Original Theology of Elizabeth Edwards" at American Prospect in 2007 on her response to a question at a nonpartisan conference called BlogHer.
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."
She posted a farewell message on Facebook.
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.
Donald Douglas at American Power looks at her statement where she says she was sustained by "my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope" and suggests that she puts her faith in something other than God.
CNN has rounded up reactions from political leaders:
"In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain. Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of such adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."
"America came to know her in a different and even more personal way, as she fought back with enormous grace and dignity. She became an inspiration to so many. "
"I was very sorry about what she's been through. And I think she showed this country and the world, an extraordinary level of courage, and not just on the physical challenges but the others that she's faced with honor and dignity."
Sarah Palin, Twitter
"Very sorry for Elizabeth Edward's family. May God comfort her kids, especially, through this tough time. God bless her family & loved ones."