Carter Stands Up for Equality

On July 15th, a position paper by former president Jimmy Carter was published that discussed his reasons for severing all ties to the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s an amazing piece and I highly recommend reading it. Mr. Carter explains that he can no longer be a part of a religion that views half of the population of the world as inferior to the other half. He explains that this institutionalized sexism is used far too often as an excuse for atrocities.

There is a whole section of the paper briefly touching on some of the ways that sexism around the world is affecting lives and he states that “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.” He goes on to say:

“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 We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.”

Carter acknowledges how difficult it is for current leaders to challenge such deeply ingrained social mores, but he calls on them to work to change these truths anyway. He calls the cherry-picking of bible verses to justify sexism selfish and “in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God.”

To be honest, I never thought much about President Carter before. I knew that he was involved in human rights issues and that he won a Nobel Prize, but he was out of office before I was born and so I never paid that much attention. This kind of a call for action is well worthy of attention, though. I hope that it helps to make the difference in the world that it asks for. It certainly made a difference to me.

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