In the hundreds of obituaries and tributes published today about Julia Child (pictured with her late husband, Paul), there's little indication about her beliefs, though The New York Times drops some hints: Mrs. Child was a breast cancer survivor, a cat lover, a fervent advocate of Planned Parenthood and an unabashed sensualist with a sly sense of humor. One year she and her husband sent out Valentine's cards with a photograph of them together in the bathtub in Paris. One of her last projects was to be a memoir of her years in France.
. . . To the end, Mrs. Child maintained her image as the ultimate bon vivant, a California girl with easy French tastes. Whenever she was asked what her guilty pleasures were, she responded: "I don't have any guilt."
Those details suggest a nominal Episcopalian, maybe a Unitarian who would prefer a sumptuous breakfast at home to another topical discussion at coffee hour.
But then, digging back to the June 2000 issue of Esquire, there's this:
I hate organized religion. I think you have to love thy neighbor as thyself. I think you have to pick your own God and be true to him. I always say "him" rather than "her." Maybe it's because of my generation, but I don't like the idea of a female God. I see God as a benevolent male. Tears mess up your makeup.
. . . I don't believe in heaven. I think when we die we just go back to the great ball of energy that makes up the universe.
Hell only exists on earth, when you've made mistakes and you're paying for them.