Jimmy Carter, a committed Southern Baptist, said in an interview published this week that he supports gay civil marriage, though he cautioned against the government interfering with church autonomy.
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.
Carter was asked his opinion regarding biblical passages that would, for instance, forbid women from speaking in Church. He said those passages were based on the social constructs of the time and were now antiquated, before then being led onto the topic of gay rights.
As to whether the bible should be taken literally, Carter says that he believes that “the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge.” He offers there is some “fallibility” to the bible but that the basic principles are sound.
The interview also sees Carter asked about how he reconciles his faith in God as a creator while at the same time maintaining that the scientific understanding of the origin of the universe is true.
Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” He is believed to be the only U.S. President to have received this prize after they left their role as POTUS.