President Carter is one of my all-time biggest heroes. He is a humanitarian who has made a huge impact on the poorest people in the world and he continues his philanthropic work to this day, long after he has left office. He founded the Carter Center and won a Nobel Peace prize for his role in the Camp David Accords and his tireless work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts. He has also been working since 1980 to eradicate guinea worm disease, a crippling condition that Carter has stated keeps people in poverty.
He sat down with the Huffington Post to discuss his new book "NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter." As always, he gave heartfelt and well reasoned answers on topics such as gay marriage, reconciling science and religion, and women's role in the church.
He begins the conversation by pointing out that God inspired the Bible but was written by men and therefore we must take the spirit of the text instead of interpreting it literally. On the topic of religion and science, the former President had this to say: "I happen to have an advantage there because I am a nuclear physicist by training and a deeply committed Christian. I don’t have any doubt in my own mind about God who created the entire universe. But I don’t adhere to passages that so and so was created 4000 years before Christ, and things of that kind. Today we have shown that the earth and the stars were created millions, even billions, of years before. We are exploring space and sub-atomic particles and learning new facts every day, facts that the Creator has known since the beginning of time."
President Carter also shares his disagreements with the Southern Baptists stance on the role of women in the church. "I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women, because I believe what Paul taught in Galatians that there is no distinction in God’s eyes between men and women, slaves and masters, Jews and non-Jews -– everybody is created equally in the eyes of God."
On the topic of gay marriage, President Carter points out that at no point did Jesus speak out against homosexuals. He concedes that churches who oppose gay marriage should not be forced to perform such a ceremony because as a Baptist he believes that each congregation is autonomous. In case you were wondering, the church President Carter currently attends accepts gays on an equal level.
If this doesn't make you fall in love with Jimmy Carter as much as I have, then I have a few links that I'm pretty confident will blow your mind.
President Carter wants to end Guinea worm disease
The Carter Center
President Carter Bio