An Ex-President Like No Other: Jimmy Carter The Passionate Feminist

"Morality is doing what is right, regardless what we are told. Religious dogma is doing what we are told, no matter what is right."

     - Elka Enola


Whatever you may think of his days in power, there's really no denying that since leaving office back in 1981 Jimmy Carter has become perhaps the greatest ex-president in American history. And now he's taken one more, very significant, step towards wrapping up that title once and for all: He's just quit his church of more than 60 years out of disgust at their sexist, bigoted views concerning women.

This is no ordinary ex-president or former elected official of any kind. This is a man who has spent the past 30 years working with Habitat For Humanity building homes for the poor. This is a man who has travelled the globe monitoring elections and mediating peace deals. This is a man who has dedicated himself to peace, and through The Carter Center, has worked tirelessly to advance human rights, promote democracy, and alleviate human suffering worldwide. Work that rightfully earned him the Nobel Peace Prize back in 2002.

It's not too hard to understand why the right-wing in America despises this guy so much. After all, all of the above mentioned activities - those that make his time since leaving office such an incredible success - are the exact same things American conservatives would scoff at:

"Peace? Pleeease!"

"Helping the poor? Come on man, what the #%&$ for?"

Most significantly - and most outrageously to those on the American right - and in the face of seeming indifference and deafening silence from the vast majority of his fellow American politicians, Carter has spoken up loud and clear in the name of justice for the Palestinian people. He alone, of prominent politicians in the U.S., has had the guts to call the apartheid system that the Israelis are running in Israel/Palestine by name - opening himself up to vicious attacks from across the political spectrum throughout this country he once governed.

But he doesn't care. He knows he's speaking up for truth and justice. The haters be damned. This is one rare American politician indeed.

Go Jimmy Go, Go: A Feminist Proclamation

If all that wasn't enough to drive the right-wingers into fits of absolute FOXNEWS-inspired insanity, he's now gone one step further. Not only did he leave his church, the Southern Baptist Church, he also had the nerve to write a passionate article stating his firm belief in the equality of the sexes. Conservatives would call it "wacko", though the rest of us would most likely choose adjectives like brilliant and inspiring.

He came to this decision after church leaders decided to prohibit women from being ordained and insisted women be "subservient to their husbands". Feeling enraged, he sat down and, like some sort of 84-year-old Southern male version of Germaine Greer, wrote a good ol' fashioned feminist proclamation, which was published earlier this month in the Australian newspaper The Age. Why an Australian paper and not one back in the States? I have no idea, but it's one hell of a great article. Here are some of the highlights:

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.

The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

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.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.


We're (Almost) All Feminists

Now there's some truth for you!! I mean who, besides the willingly ignorant and tragically indoctrinated, could disagree with any of that?

After decades of a coordinated anti-feminist backlash, it's understandable that some people might not feel comfortable self-identifying as "feminist", but the fact remains that anyone who, like Carter, believes in the equality of all people regardless of their gender is, in fact, a feminist.

For The Love Of Christ, What Next Jimmy?

"Peacenik! Bleeding heart helper of the poor! Terrorist lover! America hater! And now FEMINIST?!!", you can just hear Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and all the other right-wing blowhards losing their minds. "Where's his passion for all things American, like guns and foreign wars and cheering on bloodbaths in Gaza? What's wrong with this guy?"

"What next, is he going to come out as a believer in Darwinism?"

Well, if he did he'd be, according to a Gallup poll earlier this year, part of the 39% minority of Americans who profess belief in that most basic of scientific theories. Bet he probably thinks, in complete contradiction of Biblical teaching, that the world is actually round too. Freak!

"He's clearly not a real American", you can hear the O'Reillys and Limbaughs shout.

But, of course, he is. He just happens to be from that enlightened half of the nation who prefer peace to war and social justice for the poor. Oh and those crazy European and Canadian "socialistic" notions like machine guns for none and universal medical insurance for all.

Ok, perhaps one third of Americans.

Or one quarter?

Whatever it is, he's not alone in believing that his country - and the world - can be a much better place.

Ex-U.S. presidents, especially those in their 80s, aren't the first to come to mind when you think of crusading feminists, but, again, Carter's definitely not your typical ex-president... or guy in his 80s.

Now read his full article here: Losing my religion for equality

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Thursday, July 30th, 2009


Now check out this recent piece on healthcare reform in America: The Great Anti-Canadian-Healthcare Fraudster Joins The Great American Healthcare Debate

 

And check out these other recent political rants:

 

Canada: Top Ten Things To Love and Hate

 

A Narcissistic Sociopathic Cult-Running Ultra-Conservative Child-Diddling Crusader For Christ

 

The War On Terror Charade: 14-Year-Old Terrorists and The Fight For Western Civilization

 

Freedom Denied! Are We Happy Now: The Crushing of Sri Lanka's Tamils

 

Nothing To Fear But Truth Itself: Criminalizing Criticism of Israel

 

For more on American politics visit the Politics: America page

 

For more on Canadian politics visit the Politics: Canada page

 

For more on Religion click here: Religion

 

And for lots more on politics of all types visit the Politics Homepage

 

MikesAndDislikes Home

Rightwing smoke screen

The continuing rants against President Carter by the rightwing have never been anything more than a smoke screen to deflect attention from the criminal activities of the Nixon administration, and the pardon of him by Ford. Anything that occured during the Carter administration pales in comparison to the Nixon years, and the rightwing will harp on the Carter administration at every turn in the road to take the conversation away from the fact that the only president in the history of this country to resign in disgrace, to save his own ass, was a republican named Richard Nixon. Carter inherited the economic mess he had to deal with the same way our current president inherited the economic mess he now has to deal with. Carter wasn't that bad of a president by any comparison, and he didn't negotiate with terrorists, the way Reagan did concerning the hostages in Iran. Republicans constantly fuck up our economy, and democrats have to fix it. Those are the facts whether you can deal with them or not.

Fun Fact

Fun Fact: The Reagan / Carter Campaign made me an athiest today. I was 6 and attending a SOUTHERN BAPTIST church (yes, I found out just recently that this was Carter's OWN SECT). Come election season, all of the Sunday School classes were taken aside and it was explained to us how Carter and everyone who served under him (in his cabinet, I guess, but being six, I thought a cabinet was where the dishes went) was a servitor of satan. This man who on leaving office built houses for poor people. A servitor of Satan. Fuck the Church and fuck the Republican Party. It's all a bunch of mind-control hoo-ha. Who do they think they are, heaping that kind of crap on a six year old? My parents heard me talking about my little Sunday school lesson and got me right out.

A personal friend and a very good man

Hey, Mike! Thanks for the positive words about Jimmy Carter. He is a personal friend and a very good man. Please note, however, that he did not just recently disassociate himself with the Southern Baptist Convention. He did so about 9 years ago, as many other thinking people like myself did. Other than that, I applaud your words. If more people were like Jimmy Carter, this world would be a much better place.

 

Mr. Jimmy and Mrs. Rosalyn are two of the sweetest, most intelligent, and most sincerely kind people on the planet. They did not give up their faith when they left the Southern Baptist Convention. Both are active members of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA, which was formed when a number of like-minded people in Plains left their SBC-associated church along with them. Marantha is associated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a national support organization formed a number of years ago for those of us Baptists who could not accept the increasingly rigid, narrowmindedness of the SCB. The CBF supports and includes women in all areas of leadership, including the pastorate. Mr. Jimmy still teaches a Sunday School class at Maranatha whenever he is in town, and both Mr. Jimmy and Mrs. Rosalyn are active deacons in the church. Their active schedules, including frequent travel around the globe promoting peace and social justice, would leave many younger people exhausted!

 

Thanks again for your piece in support of Mr. Jimmy's stand against using religion to justify the subjugation of women.

President Carter As Best and "Superior" Former President

This Web site, in retrospect, has posted the most objective, sincere, and unbiased commentaries about our former President Carter amidst a seemingly raging debate about Mr. Carter's self-assessment of his post-presidency career. I agree 100% with the view that Mr. Carter, both as a man and a former president, is much more "superiro" than his living peers, and to the extent humanly possible, has been a most loving, generous person devoted to the cause of peace and justice for all. Thank you, President Carter, for your bold but fair evaluation of yourself as a former president. No modesty is needed for the good work you have done.