Jimmy Carter Supports Marriage Equality
In Jimmy Carter's new book, "NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter," the 39th president of the United States and devout Southern Baptist says he supports gay civil unions.
"Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -- he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies," he said in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Carter, however, does not believe that churches have to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples.
"I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I'm a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn't require them to."
Care2.com points out that Carter also says parts of the Bible were based on outdated social structures and that "the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge."
In 2002, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work "to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
The ultra-conservative Christian website Life Site News pointed out that Carter backs the use of contraceptives and encouraged the military to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" act, which prohibited gays from openly serving in the U.S. military. Several of the website's readers left hateful comments.
"Wow, I used to respect him. What a shame. I will pray for his conversion and his soul," one reader wrote. "He has made an idol of himself; abortion = baal; worship homosexuality is sexual deviance; sexual deviance is ANY sex outside marriage of a MAN and a WOMAN," another said.
In 2010, Carter was asked if the country was ready for a gay president. He said, "The answer is yes. I don't know about the next election but I think in the near future because step by step we have realized that this issue, of homosexuality, has the same adverse and progressive elements as when we dealt with the race issue 50 years ago."