Elizabeth Edwards' final public statement before her death Tuesday struck me with its opening line and how it seemed to purposefully veer away from the fill-in-the-blank God talk that we often see. "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," she wrote.Then when some folks started pointing to that phrasing as proof that she was, more or less, a heathen, I explored her comments on religion more deeply and came away impressed and edified. Here is part of what I wrote up at PoliticsDaily:

In the weeks and months after [her 16-year-old son] Wade's death, she told [Larry] King, "I had this idea that God was going to find some way to turn back time and he was going to be alive." She continued to ask herself, as many do, whether she had done something wrong -- did she not teach him well enough, not get him a safe enough car? And then when cancer struck, and her husband's affair was revealed, she agonized about the possibility of her own cosmic cooperation in it all."And I have to recognize with each of these things, they just happen," she told King. "You didn't have to do something wrong to justify them."But she added, "You still sort of wonder: Is there some grand plan where you've done something someplace else?"Edwards said she had to move on from such magical and negative thinking, and she quoted a line from the Bill Moyers PBS special on the Book of Genesis, to the effect that "You get the God you have, not the God you want."

Read the rest here -- dissents and amendments welcome.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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