Former President Jimmy Carter denounces the Southern Baptists again

July 20, 2009

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States (1977-1981) is one of   The Elders , a group of senior intellectual leaders who speak out on global issues. The Elders recently released their collective statement that   "Religious and traditional practices discriminate against women and girls" . Not exactly news to humanists, but any wise confirmation helps the cause.

Jimmy Carter explains his endorsement of the Elders statement and his own understanding of the importance of female equality in   an article for The Observer .  He begins by reminding everyone how   he left the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 over this issue. He goes on to state,

"The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

Carter’s stance on equality is not based on the Bible, since he can’t get much help there. Rather, his justification for full gender equality is based entirely on secular humanist grounds. He points out the intolerable suffering that inequality causes for no good purpose, and he adds that one’s whole entire community, indeed the whole world of humanity, is diminished by inequality. Carter says, "It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices."

Welcome to the progressive and rational world of   humanist ethics , Jimmy.



#1 Benjamin Radford on Friday July 24, 2009 at 8:28am

Carter may not have been one of the great presidents in his time, but he will be remembered as one of the greatest ex-presidents… he’s got more wisdom in one wrinkle on his face than the whole Bush family does.

#2 gray1 on Saturday July 25, 2009 at 9:04am

I’m afraid that this will be considered by many to be yet another example of where our dear Mr. Carter’s age is starting to show with regards to being able to maintain a “final judgement filter” on his thoughts prior to vocalizing them.  My mother in law also suffers from this kind of thing.

Long being a fan President Carter for his honesty and character which is what got him elected after our exposure to Nixon, I first noticed some lapse in his judgement when he became openly critical of a sitting president, something which was long considered a faux pas.  President Clinton did the same thing but since his own personality type considers rules as being something for suckers, we couldn’t term Clinton’s actions a faux pas so much as simply another attention getting device, somthing which I’d hope Carter would ordinarily stay above. 

Being as there are already muck rakers aplenty, why should any former President of the United States soil himself unless he’s just being a pig for (more) attention? Has the continuing need for media attention become so addictive that it has displaced earlier, more respectable conventions?

Yes, the Southern Baptists are not “fair” with regards to allowing women to be ministers, etc., but they are less inclined than some others to ignore their interpretation of what Paul wrote as being how to properly run their church.  Besides, since women are naturally better ministers than men while men are inherently lazy, if they changed things all the men would soon resemble so many sleepy lions sitting about gazing over the savana while the lionesses do all the work. Paul didn’t hate women, he knew men.

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