One would think that we could all agree, regardless of religious belief or political affiliation, how crushingly sad it is to read that Elizabeth Edwards’ doctor has advised her that her cancer has spread, that she has only a short time to live, and that further medical treatment would not be productive. One would think that the only feelings and responses that come to mind would be compassion for her and for her family — especially her children; as well as respect and admiration for the grace, dignity, integrity, and courage she has shown in dealing with her illness at the same time that she was subjected to a humiliating, very public betrayal by her own husband when he had an affair with another woman, with whom he had a child — all the time lying to her about it even after she found out.
One would think that of all the aspects of these tragic circumstances one could comment on, the least important would be that in her final public remarks about her condition, as follows:
“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.”
the “three saving graces” she mentioned did not include a specific mention of God.
Unfortunately, it appears we cannot all agree on these points. Not only that, but some of us feel compelled to express this disagreement publicly, with breathtaking callousness:
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’s she’s been forsaken by more than just her estranged husband — that’s 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[.] … 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.
It seems to me that telling a woman dying of cancer that she is a “nihilist” because instead of saying she has been sustained by family, friends, and faith in God, she says she has been sustained by family, friends, and “a faith in the power of resilience and hope,” is in itself an implicit admission that you know nothing about the power of religious faith. If religious belief is not at its core about compassion and empathy and love — ANY religious belief — then it’s not really about anything at all — at least, not anything that truly matters. A house that’s just walls with no frame underneath isn’t a house at all.