Jimmy Carter’s pro-life rhetoric ‘a political decision,’ Baptist leaders say
This story was updated at 10 a.m. Eastern time n April 12, 2012 to include additional quotations and embed the audio file of President Carter speaking with Dr. Albert Mohler.
PLAINS, GEORGIA, April 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Leader of former President Jimmy Carter’s longtime denomination say his calls for the Democratic Party to adopt a less radical pro-choice platform is a political calculation to help the party in the South.
“I never have believed that Jesus Christ would approve of abortions,” Carter told talk show host Laura Ingraham, while promoting his new study Bible. “I’ve signed a public letter calling for the Democratic Party at the next convention to espouse my position on abortion which is to minimize the need…and limit it only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.”
“I think if the Democratic Party would adopt that policy that would be acceptable to a lot of people who are now estranged from our party because of the abortion issue,” he said.
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The political context, and the shift in Carter’s views since leaving the presidency, have made Southern Baptist leaders question his sincerity.
“What he’s doing is making a political calculation,” Dr. Richard Land told LifeSiteNews.com. “It isn’t a moral decision about abortion. This is a political decision.”
Dr. Land, who has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988, said the issue “is killing the Democrats in the South” and that “Jimmy understands this. He understands the reason they lost the South is not the civil rights movement; it’s the abortion movement.”
“I think there’s a political calculus at play here,” agreed J. Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action. “Jimmy Carter, though he wasn’t much of a president, is astute enough to recognize this is a battle they’re going to lose. Those who defended abortion homicide will be viewed similarly in history as those who opposed the abolition movement and supported slavery.”
“The millenials are swinging in droves,” he said. “As science indicates when life begins, the young people are simply abandoning the euphemistic talking points [the] pro-choice…Left has been using to push its radical agenda.”
The former president’s unease may be heightened by the strong showing pro-life activist Randall Terry made in the Democratic presidential primaries, beating President Obama in 14 counties in Oklahoma. Ingraham noted Carter was the last Democrat to carry every state in the South.
(Story continues following video. Carter’s comments begin at approximately 13:17.)
President Carter made nearly identical comments in 2005, while promoting his number one New York Times bestseller, Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. shortly after “values voters” defeated John Kerry. Carter told The Washington Times, “I’ve never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion.” He hoped his party would “let the deeply religious people and the moderates on social issues like abortion feel that the Democratic Party cares about them and understands them.” The book’s seven pages on abortion, however, do not criticize Democrats but say pro-life voters “do not extend their concern to the baby who is born.”
As president, Carter appointed Sarah Weddington, the lead attorney in Roe v. Wade, as his chief adviser on women’s affairs from 1978-81. While he personally opposed abortion and vetoed government funding of abortion, he said he would not enact his views into law.
Dr. Land called that “the worst position you can have morally.”
“It’s one thing not to understand abortion is the taking of a human life and thus be for its legalization,” he said. “It’s altogether worse to understand that it is the taking of a human life but not have the gumption to stand up and say the country shouldn’t allow it.”
At the same time the 39th president has highlighted his more moderate stance on abortion, Carter has endorsed same-sex “marriage.” He told The Huffington Post, “I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies” but he added he drew the line, “maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people.”
Dr. Richard Land said, “I’m not surprised that he holds that view. He is hopelessly confused as a theologian.” Carter has said his favorite theologians were liberals Rienhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich.
Barber told LifeSiteNews.com, “Jimmy Carter has made a cottage industry of twisting scripture to say the exact opposite of what it says.”
“Homosexual conduct, is listed over and over again in black-and-white as sin,” said Barber.
“There’s a word for what Jimmy Carter is doing. That’s apostasy,” Barber told LifeSiteNews.com. “That’s a strong word to use, but Jimmy Carter is an apostate in that he is leading the least of these to sin against what Scripture clearly condemns in terms of homosexual conduct.”
“He is not just fooling himself with this,” Barber told LifeSiteNews. “Unfortunately he’s using the goodwill he has developed over the years and his history as the leader of the free world to push heretical notions.”
These views, they said, stem from Carter’s belief the Bible is not inerrant, they said.
Last month, Carter joined Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for a lengthy and cordial discussion of theology. Dr. Mohler described Carter’s view of Scriptural inerrancy as “a separation of history and theology that I believe is destructive of the Gospel.”
Dr. Land told LifeSiteNews.com, “Jimmy has fallen prey to the common malady of mainline Protestantism: dalmation theology. The Bible is inspired in spots, and they individually are inspired to spot the spots. They just happen to be the spots they agree with.”
Matt Barber agreed, “The liberal theologian is in the untenable position of having to take the Bible and say it is a really malleable text so they can take it and twist it and turn it contort is in such a way so they say it fits with their worldview.”
“They stand in judgment of Scripture instead of standing under the judgment of Scripture,” Dr. Land said.
This was Carter’s motive to create a new, more liberal Baptist church with former president Bill Clinton in 2008.
“They are people who were raised Southern Baptist in the case of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton but don’t really believe what Southern Baptists believe anymore but who want to nostalgically yearn for being called Southern Baptists,” Dr. Land said.
“I am in no position to judge Jimmy Carter’s soul or his relationship, to the extent that he may or may not have one, with Christ,” Barber said. “However, I can look at what Jimmy Carter has done in defense of the gross bastardization of a God-inspired institution, marriage, and the 55 million children who have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade, and I can say without a doubt those [positions] are an affront to the clear, unequivocal words of Scripture.”
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