A Conversation with Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter struggled as a President, but I’ve always admired him as a human being and as a  humanitarian.  The following Q&A is from Time magazine (30 Jan 2012):

Should voters care about the faith of candidates?

I think moral values would be a better way, but I don’t see how you can separate faith from moral values.  I also don’t maintain that you have to be a Christian to exhibit those characteristics in private life or in public life.

Do American politicians overplay their Christianity?

Excessively so.  Some of that originated in opposition to me.  The so-called Moral Majority came into being to oppose me and was espoused by Ronald Reagan in his campaign against me.

What concerns you most about American today?

Every one of my successors has been in gratuitous wars.  I think we could have resolved most of those conflicts in a peaceful way.  And we share little of our wealth with other people.  These are a violation of the teachings of the Prince of Peace.

While I would generally agree with President Carter on most of his points, I disagree that you can’t “separate faith from moral values.”  I think there are many individuals who have little or no religious faith but still have high moral standards.  Can you be an atheist or agnostic and still have strong values?  Of course you can, and most do.  In fact, you can make a case that is some instances, misplaced “faith” has been a detriment to moral decision making.  For instance, when Christianity deviates from its principal message–love thy neighbor–things can and do go wrong.

But I strongly agree with his statement that Americans need to share more of their wealth with the world, whether that wealth is money, knowledge, technology, etc.  From what I can tell, President Carter lives what he preaches on this point.

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