John Edwards: 'My Faith Came Roaring Back'

In the first of a series of interviews with presidential candidates, Edwards discusses how faith affects his decisions.

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No. My praying is more conversational than that. It is me explaining to God what I am going through, what our family is going through, and asking him to help me see the way, to do what's right.

And asking him also, which I do regularly, to allow me not to focus on myself and my own selfish desires. Because I am a sinner and selfish, like every human being on the planet. And asking him to give me the power to get outside that and do what he would have me to do. That's sort of the heart and soul of my prayer.

In what ways do you feel God is happiest with you right now?

I think he would be happy with the fact that I have focused on people who live in poverty here and people without healthcare. And the suffering of others in other parts of the world, like some of the work that I've done on humanitarian issues in Africa, for example, and going to the slums outside of Delhi and India.

Focusing on problems in a very personal way that exist, and without regard to my own selfish ambitions, talking about things that may not seem so politically powerful, but are important to me, and I think important to God.

Do you feel like there's a way in which God is disappointed with you now?


Yes, absolutely. Every day. Every day. Because I am like anyone else. I revert to bad, selfish behavior. I try to make myself not do it, but I'm like everybody else. Sometimes better; sometimes worse. And I think there's not a single day goes by that he doesn't feel some disappointment in me. But, he doesn't give up on me--never gives up on me.

In 2004, John Kerry said that he wouldn't let his faith affect his decision making. Does it affect yours?

Yes, it does. I do believe in the separation of church and state. But 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. It's part of my value system. And to suggest that I can somehow separate and divorce that from the rest of me is not possible. I would not, under any circumstances, try to impose my personal faith and belief on the rest of the country. I don't think that's right. I don't think that's appropriate. 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?

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Interview by David Kuo
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