ATLANTA, GA, March 24, 2014 ( – In two separate interviews over two days, former President Jimmy Carter has said that Christian denominations that do not allow women to be ordained are responsible for spousal abuse and companies paying female workers less than men.

In an interview with NBC News anchor and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell this weekend, Carter said the world's misogyny “is really derived, I would say indirectly, from the fact that religious leaders say that women are inferior in the eyes of God, which is a false interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. But when they see that the Pope and the Southern Baptist Convention and others say that women can’t serve as priests and so forth equally as men, they say well, ‘I’ll treat my wife the way I want to, because she’s inferior to me.' Or, 'I don’t have any real moral compunction against paying my employees less.’ So, women are abused.”

“The Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention and others quite often say, 'Well, women are not qualified to have an equal role in the service of God as men.' And of course, men all over the world take this as a proof that they can abuse their wives or pay less pay,” the former president said on this morning's Morning Joe on MSNBC.


Carter is making the media rounds to promote his new book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. The new volume, which will be published tomorrow, will focus on the persecution of women and what Carter believes is religion's key role in instigating it.

“The Catholic Church, as you know, prevents women from serving as priests and even as deacons,” he told Mitchell.” And I hope they change that.”

Carter said that he “wrote to Pope Francis a letter concerning some of the issues I described in my book. He responded that it was his opinion that the role of women in the Catholic Church in the future should be greatly enhanced, without going into any detail.” Carter laughed, indicating that he found Pope Francis' answer evasive. “I’ll obviously send him a copy of my book as well,” he said.

The 39th president of the United States, whose presidency is generally regarded as among the worst in history, said that he once confronted Pope John Paul II about traditional Christian teachings on economics and female ordination.

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In his 2005 book Our Endangered Values Carter recalled his conversation with the late Pontiff. “I disagreed with him on his perpetuation of the subservience of women.” He added that “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology,'” a Marxist doctrine using Catholic trappings that Pope Benedict XVI has written “constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church.”

In the same book, Carter blamed the Southern Baptist Convention's belief in traditional sexual roles for Islamic female genital mutilation in Africa.


Southern Baptists, he wrote, “keep women in their place,” and this leads inextricably to female circumcision. “Women are greatly abused in many countries in the world, and the alleviation of their plight is made less likely by the mandated subservience of women by Christian fundamentalists,” he wrote.


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