Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter says it’s “fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” and adds that Jesus never once said anything about homosexuality. The 39th president seems to have evolved, and talks about his new book, “NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter,” in an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post:
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.
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.
When asked, “Should we approach the Bible literally, or metaphorically?,” President Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said:
When we go to the Bible we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible. But the basic principles are applicable to my life and I don’t find any conflict among them.
The example that I set in my private life is to emulate what Christ did as he faced people who were despised like the lepers or the Samaritans. He reached out to them, he reached out to poor people, he reached out to people that were not Jews and treated them equally. The more despised and the more in need they were, the more he emphasized that we should go to and share with them our talent our ability, our wealth, our influence. Those are the things that guide my life and when I find a verse in the Bible that contradicts those things that I just described to you, I put into practice the things that I derive from my faith in Christ.
In December, 2010, President Carter was asked by Big Think, “Is the country ready for a gay President?”
“Well I think the entire population of America has come tremendous strides forward in dealing with the issue of gays. And I would say that 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… or 40 years ago. So I would say that the country is getting acclimated to a President who might be female, who might obviously, now be black and who might be as well, a gay person. Yes, I would say the answer is, yes.”
And Carter has certainly been evolving. In a 2005 Fox News interview, former President Carter, an Evangelical Christian, said:
“My own belief is that there should be a distinction between so-called gay marriages, which I look upon as a possibility of a church-ordained blessing of God on a union, which I think should be between a man and a woman. But at the same time, that people who do have gay union in a court or in secular terms not relating to religion, should be treated with complete equality.”
What’s your take? Will President Obama complete his evolution on same-sex marriage equality before or after the November election?
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