In an act more courageous than anything conceived in the poisonous heart of a Reagan or a Bush, Carter has actually chosen to live by his principles and by his faith. He isn't a church whore , bending his knee for appearances, power and votes. He remains a man of conscience and commitment. Last week, while Washington's "Christian's" were shedding crocodile tears over their latest round of infidelities, lies and graft and angling for the ways and means to continue their wretched grasping for power, Mr Carter left them in his wake. Jimmy Carter, a true American hero, walked away from the corruption of the message in the book he lives by. Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention and in a stirring essay in Australia's The Age took a stand for the rights and future of women in the face of persecution and dehumanization as wrought by the world's major religions.
I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
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.
The full text of his essay is something that in a sane world would not need to be written or read. Would that the tough talking politicians, hawks and zealots of the day had a speck of the courage that Mr Carter exhibits here. If only the churches, temples and mosques chose to empower rather than horde power, to teach dignity and equality rather than viewing half of humanity as property.
In looking through Google images to find photos of the last American statesman to hold high office I came across endless bile and vitriol, wishes of death and imprecations against this humble man. How sad and blind so many people choose to become and stubbornly remain. We are led by fools and villains, bigots and monsters and too many of us are easy with that, content to wallow in violence both physical and spiritual. There is no more dangerous beast than a coward behind a gun. There is no more courageous creature than one who speaks unpopular truth. Jimmy Carter is a man of integrity and true courage, here's hoping some shard of his wisdom pricks the hides of the blowhards and brutes that see no solution to conflict but escalation and subjugation. Here's to his vision of equality without qualification, finding the sacred in each of us, brothers and sisters of every faith and race.
Via Crooks & Liars.