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 We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices."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.