The year Jimmy Carter was first elected President, 1976, was the first year that evangelicals were credited with being a significant voting bloc. Dhimmi, however, quickly bit the hand that fed him. Once again, the religious vote is being courted by presidential wannabes. Beware of politicians and their religious rhetoric.
Consider the remarks by NBC anchor John Chancellor: “We have checked on the religious meaning of Carter’s profound experience. It is described by other Baptists as a common experience, not something out of the ordinary.” Evangelicals were genuinely excited by Carter’s campaign. Carter spoke to fifteen thousand pastors and lay persons of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bailey Smith “proclaimed that this country needs ‘a born-again man in the White House… and his initials are the same as our Lord’s.”
Carter’s candidacy eventually turned sour. His interview in Playboy magazine was the first sign that something was wrong. He stated that he had “looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” What he said was certainly in line with Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, but in Playboy? He did not believe in biblical inerrancy. His choice of theological reading material was in the neo-orthodox camp (e.g., Reinhold Niebuhr): “During his presidential campaign, Carter dropped repeated hints at liberal theological leanings with his habit of quoting snippets from neo-orthodox theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, and Paul Tillich. In his peanut warehouse office, Carter kept a small statue of Gandhi. Notably missing from his repertoire of religious references are conservative theologians or thinkers present or past, such as C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Charles Spurgeon, or Jonathan Edwards. These loud signals went unnoticed by the millions of conservative evangelical Christians who thought Carter was ‘one of us’ in the 1976 campaign.”
He supported the Equal Rights Amendment. He supported abortion rights by declaring even though he was “personally opposed to abortion,” he had to enforce the law of the land: “I can only think of one issue where I had to modify my own Christian beliefs to carry out the duties of president, and that was on the subject of abortion, and this is a highly personal thing. You ask me as a human being. It is impossible for me to imagine Jesus approving abortion, and my duties as a president required me to carry out the laws of our nation as interpreted by the Supreme Court, which authorized abortion, as you know, in the first three months of pregnancy of the woman and her doctor decide [to do so]. I disagreed with his, although I never failed to carry out my duty as a president. . . .” Would the “I’m personally opposed” line have worked on slavery or racial discrimination?: “While I’m personally opposed to slavery, I must carry out the laws of our nation as interpreted by the Supreme Court.”
Carter did not seem to have a problem using his office to push for legislation in other areas in terms of how his Christian convictions shaped his opinion. He supported homosexual rights: “Gay activists sought the end of legal and social sanctions on homosexual relationships. And the White House Conference on the Family provided a forum for all of them.” As president, Carter may have had “to carry out the laws of our nation as interpreted by the Supreme Court,” but he could have spoken to the nation on why he believed pro-abortion legislation was a moral evil. He did not have a problem using the IRS to intimidate Christian schools.
His administration did not include one evangelical. He would veto any law that allowed for voluntary prayer in public schools. He established a federal Department of Education. Evangelicals had had enough of Carter by 1979, the year Jerry Falwell started the Moral Majority.
Contrast Carter’s fishy pre-election con work with Hillary’s modern day purchasing of endorsements from southern pastors.
It certainly helps when Hillary commits huge goof’s such as calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from South Carolina Statehouse grounds because she thinks the nation should “unite under one banner while at war.”
This from a Democrat senator who votes to bleed resources from the troops on the ground in an effort to cause so much harm to come to the troops, Bush will be forced to bring them home pre-maturely, and open America up to further terrorist attacks once Iran and Syria are able to hijacks Iraq’s oil money.
Thanks, Hillary, for trying to court the Religious Right vote, but you’ve already struck out and it’s not even the election year yet. Go
Osama Obama! What does it matter – a vote for one is a vote for the other.