Hangin’ with Mr. Carter

When the silliness that is CNN’s “Belief Blog” mixes with the absurdity that is Jimmy Carter, I am forced to violate my own rule of “Don’t break down articles about Bible study“.  After Obama tried condescending to religious faith, and the NYTimes tried caricaturing women, CNN decided to take its turn at attempting to mitigate the damage from the HHS mandate: 

Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer turned president turned globe-trotting humanitarian, now has another line to add to his business card: Bible commentator. Last week, Carter published a Lessons from Life Study Bible, with the subtitle Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter.

I’d love to know how long the author agonized over this sentence before settling on the awkward phrase, “so-called value voters”.

With many Democrats embracing the language of faith in recent years in an attempt to win back so-called values voters from the Republican column…

And thank heavens we have CNN here to give us these “good reminder(s)” about Democrats.

…Carter’s intense faith life is a good reminder that hardly all Democrats are new to the pew.

“Hardly all”, eh? He doesn’t even sound convinced himself. How is that pitch gonna go? “Vote Democrat, hardly all of us are atheists!”

Since he returned to Plains, Georgia, from Washington after losing his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan in 1980, Carter has taught Sunday school at the local Maranatha Baptist Church, “about 685 times so far,” he says.

My goodness is that ever an incredibly specific number; not to mention a bizarre thing to keep such close track of. I would have liked to hear some follow up questions about other unnecessary numbers Jimmy has at the tip of his tongue. “I’ve had 432 haircuts since I was elected president,” Carter continued.

His notes in the new study Bible pull from years of Sunday school lessons. “Like the disciples, we should not be proud, seek an ascendant position or argue about who’s the greatest among us…”

But we should know how many times we’ve taught Bible study, just in case we have to prove our religious chops? Also, the irony of a former president emphasizing that we should not seek an ascendant position speaks for itself.

In a phone interview from his home in Plains, he said politics is one area in need of redemption, bemoaning the influx of vitriol and money into politics.

“I always referred to incumbent President Gerald Ford as ‘my distinguished opponent’ and that’s the way he referred to me. When I later ran against Gov. [Ronald] Reagan, it was the same thing, ‘my distinguished opponent,’”

Says the guy who titled a book about Israel, “Peace, Not Apartheid”, which is of course not vitriolic at all and totally respectful of a country who has to deal with random rockets being launched at its towns and schools on a daily basis.

On the campaign trail, Carter proudly advertised that he had been “born again.” Historian Randall Balmer dubbed him the “Redeemer President” in his book “God in the White House,” largely crediting Carter with bringing the vocabulary of evangelicalism into national politics.

Wait.. it was Democrats who invented evangelical politics? Talk about your all-time backfires.

“I was very careful to keep religious practice out of my decisions as president except for moral values,” he said.

What a false distinction. Where exactly is the line between religious practice and moral values? Wherever Jimmy Carter (or Barack Obama) puts it, of course.

In the White House, Carter still found time to quietly teach Sunday school on 14 occasions.

And baked his famous pumpkin pie 7 times!

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