Jimmy Carter can’t understand why the Southern Baptist Convention turned down an invitation to participate in his Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant gala in Atlanta this week. At a Sunday school class I attended in Plains, Georgia last month, Carter described the gathering as merely an effort to “bind” Baptists together “in the spirit of serving Christ without recrimination and without animosity and without criticizing each other.”
Who could be opposed to that? More to the point, who doesn’t want to meet John Grisham?
Now, granted, there is the small matter of the former president disavowing his membership in the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 with a publicly released letter declaring the group violated “the basic tenets of my Christian faith” and the presumptuousness of grandly declaring, with typical Carter modesty, a “new covenant” for an entire denomination. And, sure, if you look at the index listing for “Southern Baptist Convention” in the back of Carter’s left-wing evangelical tract Our Endangered Values, you’ll find entries such as bridging of church-state separation, 60-61, fundamentalist leadership of, 32-33, 39-42 and fundamentalist view of Carter in, 32-33.
Perhaps reacting to such trivialities, Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page said last year he’d skip this month’s Carter meeting to avoid being part of “any smokescreen left-wing liberal agenda.”
This is ludicrous. How much cash could the New Covenant crew have really spent on a liberalism-hiding fog machine at an event that opens with this everybody hold hands address by Carter, includes an Al Gore “Stewardship of the Earth” luncheon, features speeches by Tony Campolo and Marian Wright Edelman, and closes with Bill Clinton? GOP Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley may have been invited to give the gathering bipartisan credibility, but neither burn bright enough to be a blip on this progressive supernova.
It is simply insane to believe Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Bill Clinton would ever exploit a religious event for political purposes — just ask Jimmy Carter.p> NONE OF THIS IS necessarily to defend the Southern Baptist Convention. As an un-baptized heathen married to a Jew, I cannot pretend to understand the inner workings of this or any other Christian denomination. Nevertheless, I can say the Convention should not take any rejection from Jimmy Carter too personally. The former president does not think highly of any belief system outside of the strictures of his own biases, as this exploration of denominational differences from his book Living Faith clearly demonstrates: br> /p>
On the one hand, there are those who believe that Christianity gives its adherents material benefits. Such churches promise their members comfort, security, financial wealth, and prestige, and they often display an evangelistic zeal that is quite impressive.br> It seems Carter may have momentarily confused Christianity with
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?