John Edwards sat down with Beliefnet.com. Among the interview highlights:
“I don’t think separation of church and state means you have to be free from your faith. My faith informs everything I think and do… But freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion. And I think that anything we can do to promote the idea that people should express their faith is a good thing.”
Do you think that America is a Christian nation?
That’s a good question. I never thought of it quite that way. There’s a lot of America that’s Christian. I would not describe us, though, on the whole, as a Christian nation. I guess the word “Christian” is what bothers me, even though I’m a Christian.
His new house came up:
You’ve received a lot of criticism from people about the size of your house. In your book, “Home,” you quote Rick Warren saying, “What I’ve noticed is that where people live affects how they live.” If that’s true, how does your home impact you? What does it say about you? And does it in any way undercut your discussion of the poor?
I think it’s a fair question, first of all. And here’s how I feel about it. The book that you made reference to that Rick Warren is in, “Home,” I think the overwhelming message from that is, whatever the structure, the physical structure–some of the houses in my book were very small, tiny. Some of them were huge. And what matters in the message from that book is [that] the physical structure’s not important. What matters is what happens inside that physical structure, and what kind of values and beliefs and faith are taught inside that structure. And so, you know, I come from a very modest place and I’ve done well and we have a very nice physical structure. It’s completely unimportant. What matters is what happens inside that structure.
His former bloggers came up in conversation. He’s asked some fairly direct questions, and then says – well, read for yourself:
I want to go to the controversy that you’ve experienced in the last few weeks about bloggers. Lots of different people were surprised, shocked, and offended by by the things that the bloggers wrote. Did you really grasp the depth of that? Do you think that you made a mistake somehow in how the situation was handled?
Yeah. Well, it was a very difficult decision for me about what to do. Because as anybody who was participating [in] it would have heard, people start off yapping about politics and what’s going to happen here and what’s going to happen there.
But every one of these people will tell you what I said to them is, I want to do what’s right. And so, I’m going to tell the truth about what it is they have said before they came to work for me. And then I want to talk to them. And if I believe that they’re being honest with me and they’re asking for forgiveness, which I believe in, then we will keep them on. And I was troubled by some of the things they had said, and I was also troubled by the way it was brought to the forefront, which was from some people who had a clear ideological agenda. And I did not think these women should be made to suffer because they were being attacked by that agenda.
You know, you don’t need a clear ideological agenda to be offended by what they wrote.
So, I wanted to hear what they had to say. I wanted to find out whether they, in fact, were trying to denigrate a particular religion. And when I had those conversations with both of them–and I had them and my wife Elizabeth did the same–I came away with a feeling that, number one, they did not intend to demean anyone’s faith.
Of course. I’m sure her comments about “Mary taking Plan B after putting her hot sticky Holy Spirit in her” were in no way meant to demean the Christian faith.
This man thinks we’re stupid, doesn’t he?
And number two, to the extent people read it that way–because they did use a lot of hot rhetoric, as often happens in the blogosphere–that they were sorry for that. Under those circumstances, I decided to forgive them and stand by them, knowing there would be potential political consequences for that.
Translation: “Give me credit, netroots. Give me credit for not firing them.”