This morning on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” I heard a very interesting interview between Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and Newsweek correspondent Jonathan Alter, regarding the death yesterday of Elizabeth Edwards.  Mr. Alter, himself a cancer survivor, recalled to NPR his interactions with Ms. Edwards during this interview.  A portion of that interview conveyed some news I hadn’t heard regarding Ms. Edwards, her reaction to her cancer and her attitude toward faith as a factor in dealing or not dealing with that cancer:


Jonathan Alter: What struck me in that interview shortly after her recurrence was her brutal honesty, which I think the rest of the world came into contact with in later years.

Steve Inskeep: What do you mean?

Jonathan Alter: Especially struck by how honest she was on the issue of faith, which most presidential candidates and their spouses have – are required almost by the world we live in that – to talk with great sincerity about their religious faith and what Elizabeth said on that particular occasion was that she couldn’t see how she could believe in a god who would blow her 16-year-old son off the road and kill him in an auto accident in 1996 and that any god who could do that was a god that she was not going to be praying to to cure her cancer because if he wouldn’t save her son, he wasn’t going to save her.  And that was just reflective of the degree of honesty that she achieved after she had this horrible life experience.

Frankly, I find this to be rather extraordinary: that a person in high political visibility is willing to dismiss the supposed efficacy of faith and not shrink away from the glare of the public eye in doing so.

Whether Elizabeth Edwards was an atheist or agnostic is less the issue here than is her willingness to say what she means, to play her cards face-up on an issue such as this, when the expectation as Mr. Alter mentions is for faith and belief in god to be the Alpha and Omega of their approach.

Brava, Elizabeth.

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Replies to This Discussion

Well, she was dying. She didn't have to pretend anymore ... particularly since her husband's political career was pretty much over, anyway.
And their marriage, probably
Brave, twice over.

You've heard, of course, that the Westboro Baptist Church is planning to picket her funeral?

My local atheist group is part of the counter-protest, yeah.  Looks like we've got 20-something people going, and then there will be other groups, too.  Some sort of quiet, respectful, human-buffer strategy or something.

Kudos for that - Lay it on THICK!!!

Are you going to mock them like a couple of previous protests did?

I wasn't able to make it, and I wasn't in on the planning of the event, anyway.  What you're thinking of is probably the Comic Con counter-protest.  There won't be anything like that going on.  The last thing you want to do is add to the chaos.  I don't know the specific game plan, but it'll be nothing boisterous.

Yeah, I've heard.  That dipshit isn't about religion or god or even gays.  Fred Phelps is an attention whore, and he'll do what he can to garner any he can and be as outrageous as he can in the process.  That he now wants to bring his bullshit to a noted woman's funeral only tells me there is no depth of depravity he will not sink to.


I'm not a great one for endorsing violence ... but were his hair to get parted with a 30-06 round, I wouldn't shed tear one.

I think there are a lot more Atheist / Agnostics in Government than they are willing to admit because they know it will be the end of their political career. I would not mind some role in politics in the future. I am a Socialist Atheist. Not likely to happen, unless I lie about my religious beliefs, or lack of.


We all know Hillary Clinton is at least Agnostic, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama. Pete Stark actually is an Atheist. I assume nearly everyone knows here that he came out a couple years ago as an Atheist. I would not be too shocked if Senator Bernie Sanders was an Atheist.

Yeah, we've got one or two out-of-the-closet atheists on the federal level, but for the most part, it's not a good idea to be out.  You can only get away with it in the most liberal states.

And I would aruge, only in the House. You could not do it as a Senator - state wide.




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