Jimmy Carter Leaves Southern Baptist Church for “Repugnant” Sexism

July 20, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Former President and Nobel Prize Winner Jimmy Carter, has decided he can no longer stomach the pervasive discrimination against women that is ingrained in the religious beliefs of the Southern Baptist Church. Carter took the unusual step this past week of issuing a formal statement completely severing all ties to the church where he worshipped for over 60 years.

Jimmy Carter and his wife Roselyn had taken steps to publicly distance themselves from the Southern Baptist Church some years ago, in response to racial insensitivities and other forms of discrimination. However, Carter continued to serve as a Deacon and teach Sunday School at his hometown place of worship, the Maranatha Baptist in Plains, Georgia.

Carter is involved in the group the New Baptist Covenant, which seeks to join all branches of the greater Baptist Church to bring black and white worshipers together under one tent.

In his statement, Carter wages a direct assault on the sexism of the Southern Baptist Church by stating, “Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.”

Carter declares that discrimination against women not only violates basic human rights, but goes against “…the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions.”

He places the blame for the worldwide abuse of women directly at the feet of male religious leaders who promote discrimination “…for their own selfish ends,” providing religious “justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.”

“At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime,” wrote Carter.

Carter goes on to describe how sexual discrimination negatively pervades every aspect of our lives, with many countries denying women education, basic health care and the right to choose their own husbands.

Jimmy Carter, now 85-years-old described his decision to leave his lifelong place of worship as “painful,” but he isn’t about to look back.

He described his denouncing of church teachings “…as an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.”

Jimmy Carter’s public position against sexism as a respected male leader, and long-time worshiper of the Southern Baptist Church, should go a long way to change the direction of religious discourse towards women.

Carter’s entire statement can be found here.



20 Responses to “Jimmy Carter Leaves Southern Baptist Church for “Repugnant” Sexism”

  1. Jimmy Carter Leaves Southern Baptist Church for “Repugnant” Sexism | Long Distance Inc on July 20th, 2009 12:50 pm

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  2. Bob Smietana on July 20th, 2009 5:12 pm

    Carter still teaches Sunday school at a Southern Baptist Church.

  3. MARILYLN VOGELGESANG on July 20th, 2009 7:25 pm

    Jimmy Carter is one person we can count on to uphold his core beliefs in the face of severe consequences. His honesty is refreshing.


  4. Kisha B Johnson on July 20th, 2009 9:47 pm

    As a woman who is presently suffering from persecution and oppression by Christian men who refuse to believe that God anoints, appoints, commissions, and assigns women to leadership roles, it is refreshing to see a world renown leader take a position. I have been subjected to humiliation, espionage, cruel bondage, and attack by Gestapo police officers and laypersons from the community who were sent against me by church leaders who perceived me as a threat. What was my crime? I trusted and believed wholeheartedly in the risen Lord and the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Because so few religious leaders today have made a full commitment to the cause of Christ, and rather, seek to advance themselves by building their own panel houses and personal wealth, they were immediately threatened by me as my goals and objectives are aligned with Christ’s – I am concerned with the salvation of souls.

    This is a serious problem, and clearly one that needs to be addressed on the national stage. If more of us take a stand on this issue, it is my firm belief that God can work supernaturally on the hearts of the masses and create an atmosphere of honesty, authenticity, and candor, which must precede any necessary changes which are long overdue.

    I have always respected Mr. Carter, and seeing this story has lifted my crushed spirit – crushed by cruel, sexist, and misogynistic men who intentionally limit and prohibit the advancement of women in the church because of their own insecurities.

  5. Rev. Win Davis, retired SBC Pastor on July 20th, 2009 11:10 pm

    Good riddance. I hope someday Jimmy Carter gets saved. So what religiobn is he going to join now.? Maybe he can worship himself. By the way, the Southern Baptist belief about women being in submission is exactly what the Bible says “wives submit yourself unto your OWN husband (as opposed to submitting herself to some other woman’s husband”). Jimmy Carter misses that distinction in his effort to rewrite God’s Word.

  6. j.maxwell on July 21st, 2009 12:06 am

    I find it refreshing to learn that someone of President Carter’s stature would stand up for what he believes. Women have been slowing and sometimes not so quietly losing ground as equals in the eyes of the law, society, and in our culture as a whole. Thank you President Carter, I only hope more people of your influence continue to be watchful of the equality of women.

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  11. Johnny Paul Jason on July 21st, 2009 10:34 am

    SBC “leaders” did not make a pronouncement, but in 2000 the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention passed statemants on the Family and the Church by over 90 percent. [The SBC is not hierarchical like mainstream denominations, but is led bottom-up by its fellowship of churches].

    Despite wording from the Bible such as “The husband and wife are of equal worth before God,” and “A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church” (i.e. willing to die for her), critics like Carter and willing media mischaracterize the statement on the Famliy as misogynist because it also stated from Ephesians that a wife is to submit graciously “to the servant leadership of her husband.”

    As for the statement on the Church, Southern Baptists stated a consensus view found among the fellowship of churches that “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” Only 35 churches out of over 45,000 have a female pastor (less than one-tenth or one percent — which means that the so-called moderate or progressive congregations in the SBC aren’t hiring women as pastors).

    Jimmy Carter has made his “departure” pronouncemnt at least twice before (1993, http://media.sbhla.org.s3.amazonaws.com/7565,14-May-1993.PDF, and 2000, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=6703) and also in his 2005 book, Our Endangered Values. However, he contniues to worship and teach at Maranatha Baptist Church [in Plains, Ga.], which continues to identify itself as Southern Baptist — and has not hired a female pastor.

    It’s merley hype to promote his latest views, and another chance for him to perpetuate a caricature of what Southern Baptists believe and practice … using this website and other willing media to aid him.

  12. James T Morgan on July 23rd, 2009 1:34 pm

    This is Jimmy’s way out, to cut ties with the church and christians alike because of His political views.We all know what democrats are trying to do to the church,and there is no possible way any democrat can uphold the integrity of the church and then push the politics the believe in,they are distinct opposite views.

  13. James Madden on August 1st, 2009 11:17 am

    wow, after seeing some of these comments from so-called “christians” and reverends talking about hoping Jimmy is saved, just makes me remember why I was so repulsed by the Baptist teachings when I was a boy and man in the rural south. my dear old mom who has gone now to meet her maker was better than all the hate-spewing preachers I encountered. the southern baptist should start examining thier own christianity and maybe go through that Bible again that they should selectively like to quote.

  14. Gwen Meharg on September 2nd, 2009 1:21 pm


  15. John on September 3rd, 2009 12:34 pm

    Poster James Madden articulated my sentiments exactly towards the SBC, along with their counterparts into other Christian sects. For some reason, roughly in the past decade, there does seem to be a heightening of sketchy claims in order to validate male domination towards fellow females. In some cases, I’ve actually spoken with and written back and forth with female members dating back to my childhood that continuously push this male domination fixation in a very undercurrent type of manner. I don’t know what it is – perhaps partisanship mixing in with American Christianity, which has been quite obvious even to the unwilling spectator? At any rate, despite not being much of a fan of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, I do wholeheartedly agree with his various sentiments towards the Church over the past ten or fifteen years. It has indeed turned very selfish and quietly ugly. Rest assured, albeit unfortunate, the generation behind me raised on mostly carry out dinners, text messaging and Disney Channel are going to fall for this clear perversion of Teachings hook line and sinker.

  16. Steve McDade on October 8th, 2009 11:48 am

    Who is responsible for the “Original Sin” that took place in the garden? Here is what the Bible says happened. “Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:4-6 It is apparent that the serpent (the devil), Eve, & Adam all made a decision to rebel against God. However, even though the New Testament says the woman was deceived, it is Adam that is ultimately held responsible. All of our sin is a result of the sin of one man, Adam. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

    The bad new is that the bible says, “The wages (what we deserve) of sin is death” we have all sinned and will have to face the penalty of that sin. However, “the gift (what He wants for us) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Jesus demonstrated through signs and miracles that He was the Son of God sent to save this world from their sin by dying on a cross as to pay the price for all of our sin. He did this because He loves us.

  17. Amy on December 1st, 2009 2:27 am

    Amen to Carter’s decision! Perhaps the integrity he is showing by taking this stand will stimulate some new thought through some darkened hardened minds within the Baptist Church. I commend his courage and love for God more so than popularity.

  18. Ken Goodwin on January 2nd, 2010 11:58 pm

    It saddens me that the Baptists among whom I live and study the Bible–and Christians of other faith traditions–seem more delighted to contemplate the medieval tortures of Hell being inflicted on the damned than to rejoice in the joys of Heaven being experienced by the saved. I’d be happier with an attitude that Christ came to save all who believe on Him, whether in this life or the next–the universalism or apocatastasis of Carlton Pearson and Jimmy Carter.

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