Jimmy Carter has been a proud member of the Southern Baptists for approximately 60 years. He is also a compassionate leader who, after completing his term as President of the United States, started The Carter Center in 1982. As Wikipedia points out the Carter Center “…promotes democracy, mediates and prevents conflicts, and monitors the electoral process in support of free and fair elections”. One of the greatest achievements of this non-profit institution is its elimination of more than 99 percent of Guinea worm, bringing down the number of cases in Africa and Asia from 3.5 million in 1986 to 148 in 2013. He has also worked extensively in diplomacy all over the world in North Korea (!), the Middle East, Africa, etc.
I often found myself using Jimmy Carter as an example of how a Christian should behave – doing well without foisting their religion on others or pushing a Christian agenda into science classrooms. It seems Jimmy Carter has finally applied his thoughtfulness to his faith and come to the conclusion that being a Southern Baptist runs counter to his concept of equality. As the Australian publication, The Age reports, Jimmy Carter feels that:
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
I don’t expect Jimmy Carter to become an atheist, but I am glad he has begun to criticize the nasty parts of the Abrahamic religions. Good on Jimmy Carter!
To read more about the good work the Carter Center does, check out their web site.
Source: Losing my religion for equality