Former President Jimmy Carter On Gay Rights

FORMER President Jimmy Carter has taken a stand for gay rights.

When asked about his views on human rights and the LGBT community, Carter schooled a crowd at Michigan’s Grand Rapids Community College with some of his Christian theology.

“I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone,” Carter said, according to a video from MLive.

The 89-year-old then likened discrimination based on sexual orientation to prejudice against a person’s skin color, economic class, and “whether they’re living in a foreign country or our country.”

“I think discrimination against anyone and depriving them of actual equal rights in the United States is a violation of the basic principles of the Constitution that all of us revere in this country,” the president said.

Carter is a devout Christian who still teaches Sunday School at Georgia’s Maranatha Baptist church. He’s been vocal about his views in the past. During a 2012 interview, he told the Huffington Post that he believes “it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”

However, Carter said that the government shouldn’t force ministers to marry same-sex couples if doing so would violate church doctrine.

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24 thoughts on “Former President Jimmy Carter On Gay Rights

  1. I’m confused.

    First you quote Jimmy Carter’s protest that women are not included in Christian Church leadership positions. Then you tell us that Sharia Law is peaceful, and Lambie doesn’t know what she is talking when she says Sharia Law breeds terrorism. How does Sharia Law view the role and status of women?… I’ll give you a clue; Meriam Yehya Ibrahim.

    Now you quote Jimmy Carter again on, on the issue of gay rights! But a few days ago you tried to convince us that Sharia Law was harmless. How do Islamic gays fare under the provisions of Sharia Law, especially where separation of mosque and state does not exist?

    Could it be that you as a Christian are giving mixed messages?

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    • Yes you are confused.
      Fort s start, I never said sharia law was peaceful – at least not in the ways it is interpreted in some nations.
      But Lambie obviously doesn’t know what sharia law even means. Her comments on the subject are facile.
      And why can’t we discuss gay marriage>
      This blog is to encourage debate not just to push your views or my views.

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    • The Christian world gives mixed messages, Davinci, as does the Muslim world. Christians are individuals, holding various understandings , and even Christian groups have specific characteristics of belief so that they vary from other groups.

      I think accepting that is a big challenge for you, but not to worry. Be at peace. For each of us to pray for understanding and peace in our lives might bring rewards to us all.

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      • The Christian world only gives mixed messages when it decides to interpret the Bible through pagan or man made philosophies. Thus Galileo was burnt at the stake because the Catholic Church believed the pagan position whereby the sun revolved around the earth.

        Nowhere in the Bible is the issue of what revolves around what, even asked let alone addressed. But people accepted pagan ideas as science, then led you to believe that it came from the Bible.

        The arguments of the GLBT lobby follow a similar course of action. They read the Bible according to the pagan attitudes found in the non Jewish societies of ancient Greece and Rome.

        If only they were honest about the sources for their arguments. But they are not.
        Instead, we have conflict between Christians and the GLBT lobby because they are attempting to introduce into Christianity, doctrines that are foreign to Christianity but prevalent within paganism.

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      • I wish you’d check things before you post. Galileo wasn’t burnt at the stake. He died in his bed on 8 January 1642, aged 77

        If only they were honest about the sources for their arguments Well, yeah!!!!

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  2. “I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone,” Carter said, according to a video from MLive.

    No! But He never condoned any behaviour that contravened the Law and the Prophets either. We are told that at His trial, no charges they tried pinning on Him stuck. If He’d tried to condone homosexuality, or adultery, the charges would have stuck.

    One of the issues with homosexuality today is that refusing to condone the orientation or the practices, is seen as discrimination. Failure to marry them in the church is seen as a discrimination by gay activists. Church doctrine that forbids homosexuality is seen as a form of discrimination.

    Which brings us to what Jesus did. The Bible tells us that He came to magnify the law; one example He gave was looking at a woman with intent to lust after her as an act of adultery. Does this mean that He discriminated and condemned lesbians (who also look on women with intent to lust) but he discriminated in favour of gays (who look upon men with intent to commit adultery)?

    I have read the New Testament from one end to the other. The homosexual issue is not addressed in the gospels, because it was not an issue among the Jews. Hence Jesus, who started preaching the gospel to the Jew first, did not need to address homosexuality. Homosexuality is however addressed in the Pauline writings, where Paul is now writing to Gentile converts, many of which came from non-Jewish backgrounds where homosexuality was an issue that needed to be addressed.

    One can see how ridiculous the argument that Jesus did not discriminate against anyone becomes, when one views the issue in the light of Scripture, and the environment in which He lived.

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    • Jesus didn’t speak about homosexuality because it wasn’t relevant to Him. When the Centurion asked Jesus to heal his “boy” (in the original Greek, probably his lover), Jesus saw a gentile with faith and answered that faith with healing. He didn’t add “go and sin no more” because faith is what mattered to Him, not sexual orientation.

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      • And where does your proof come from? Any scholarly dissertations? Besides the gospels tell us that Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant not “boy”.

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      • The Greek word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

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      • You have to do better than that Nik.

        The article below shows the problem with the gay lobby interpretation of that word. The sentences underlined reflect where the gay lobby have gone wrong.

        DID JESUS HEAL A SAME-SEX PARTNER?

        Response to Jay Michaelson, “When Jesus Healed a Same-Sex Partner”
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-michaelson/when-jesus-healed-a-same-sexpartner_b_1743947.html

        Jay Michaelson makes the claim that when Jesus healed a centurion’s servant, he was really healing the centurion’s same-sex partner. The implications are that “Jesus is extending his hand not only to the centurion but to his partner, as well. In addition to Jesus’ silence on homosexuality in general (he never mentions same-sex intimacy, no once, despite its prevalence in his social context), it speaks volumes that he did not hesitate to heal a Roman’s likely same-sex lover.” In other words, Michaelson claims that Jesus is affirming of homosexual activity.

        So the questions become, “Is Michaelson handling the New Testament’s Greek
        carefully/accurately, and Is Michaelson handling the Bible correctly? Does the Bible indeed support same-sex unions?”

        First claim: The Greek word “pais does not mean `servant.’ It means `lover.’ In
        Thucydides, in Plutarch, in countless Greek sources, and according to leading Greek scholar Kenneth Dover, pais refers to the junior partner in a same-sex relationship.”

        Response: Regardless of how true that may be in some other ancient literature, the Bible is not those sources. And the claim here is actually extremely narrow. The basic meaning of “pais” is not “servant” or “lover,” but “child.” Michaelson refuses to acknowledge that there is such a thing as semantic range—that the same word can mean a few different things. A “pais” may, in fact, be a younger male relative of the centurion. The centurion Cornelius in Acts 10 had his family with him, so it is not unreasonable that he may have been talking about one of his own relatives. But in v. 9 “pais” is also specifically referred to as a “doulos,” Greek for “servant” or “slave”, so it is not the centurion’s relative. Even as per the “servant” meaning of “pais,” that does not mean itself that it is referring to the younger partner in a pederasty relationship.

        Elsewhere in the New Testament, “pais” is used like the general meaning of “servant” or “slave” (Luke 12:45; 15:26). In the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), pais also means “servant” or “slave” (Gen 9:26, 27; 24:2; and 26:15). Pais means “attendant, minister, as of a king” in Matt 14:2 and in the Septuagint of Gen. 41:38 and Jer 36:24. Pais also means “servant of God, spoken of a minister or ambassador of God, called and beloved of God, and sent by Him to perform any service.” This term is used of David in Luke 1:69 and Acts 4:25. It refers this way to Israel in Luke 1:54, coming off of the Septuagint of Isa 41:8, 9; 44:1, 2; 45:4. It speaks of Jesus in his role as Messiah in this way in Matt 12:18, alluding to Isa 42:1, and in Acts 3:13, 28; 4:27 and 30, and in the Septuagint referring to the coming Messiah in Isaiah 49:6; 50:10; and 52:13. In none of those roles is any sexual relationship implied. In other words, if pais does in fact mean “lover” in Matt 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, as Michaelson so readily states that it does, these would be the only instances in the New Testament or the Septuagint (i.e., Old Testament) where it means that. That is pretty shaky ground already.

        Why is the author so adamant about such a narrow definition? The author makes further argument for his narrow definition by saying that the centurion “begged” on behalf of his servant, referring to the verb “parakaloon [sic]” But parakaleo (the basic form of the verb;parakalon is a participle) does not mean “beg.”

        Again, there is a semantic range for this word as well. This common word means :
        (I) “invite to come”
        (II) “to call for or upon someone as for aid, to invoke God, to beseech, entreat”
        (III) “to call upon someone to do something, to exhort, admonish” and
        (IV) “to exhort in the way of consolation, encouragement, to console, to comfort.”

        This last one is followed by “your hearts” in Eph 6:22; Col 4:8; 2 Thess 2:17; Septuagint of Gen 24:67; 37:34; and Deut 32:36, and has a sense of “to make glad” or “to be glad, rejoice” in Luke 16:24 and Acts 20:12. Incidentally, this is the same verb root used to refer to the Spirit as the parakletos, the Counselor, Advocate, or Comforter. In other words, it is being used in this sense to mean “ask” (i.e., the second definition), but it does not carry the sense of “beg.” It is simply a request, as one would one’s superior.

        The key here is that the word is used, not because the centurion is desperate, but
        because he recognizes that Jesus is his superior. In fact, it is his understanding of such authority that is the focus of the passage. It makes perfect sense that a centurion would ask someone to heal his servant, regardless of whether they have a sexual relationship.

        His servant is a paralytic— suffering, and useless as a servant. It is not too much to suppose that a person did not want to see unnecessary suffering in another person, or that a master wanted his servant to be useful to him again. That is basic humanity.

        Second claim: “he [Jesus] never mentions same-sex intimacy, not once, despite its prevalence in his social context.”

        Response: First, this is like saying that Jesus approves of running people over with cars because he never talks about cars, not even once. Jesus’ teachings focused on his social context, which was first century Judaea, not the Greco-Roman world in general.

        Same-sex relationships were NOT prevalent in Jesus’ social context. Jesus was a first century religious Jew, and sexual relationships between same-sex partners were a tremendous taboo. That does not mean that it never occurred, but it was by no means approved of in first century Judaism. Since same-sex sexual relationships were already forbidden, what need had He to speak further of the issue?

        That said, Jesus address issues of sexual purity, and His take is sometimes stricter than that of the Old Testament. For instance, Jesus made it clear that adultery was not just a matter of physical activity, but mental as well (Matthew 5). Jesus did not affirm the sexually immoral activities of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) or the woman caught in adultery to whom He said “Go and sin no more” (John 8).

        In Matthew 19, when He is asked for a theology on divorce (which is by its very nature a theology of marriage itself and thus a theology on sexual relationships in general), Jesus points to the created order. He refers to the Genesis account of creation, concluding that “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” When Jesus did that, he showed that the model for marriage was revealed in Adam and Eve, and of course, all sexual relationships were to be within the bounds of marriage.

        Though the phrase “It’s not Adam and Steve; it’s Adam and Eve” is hackneyed and trite, it is also true: Christ appealed to the created order for the model of sexual relationships, especially marriage itself. While it is not a direct teaching on homosexuality, it affirms the Genesis position on sexual relationships and marriage.
        Sexual relationships, which are only to occur in marriage, are also only to occur between a man and a woman.

        But what if the centurion and his servant were involved in a sexual relationship?

        Response: For the sake of argument, let us assume that the pais
        was indeed the centurion’s junior pederastic partner. That sort of thing was not unheard of in the Greco-Roman world. Here we come to the crux of what Michaelson claims in the article: “what about the fact that the only sanctioned relationship in the Bible is between a man and a woman? Well, in fact, that is not quite the case.” The author claims that Jesus sanctions the (supposed) same-sex sexual relationship. But does this passage indeed show (or even hint) that Jesus sanctioned a same-sex relationship?

        No. The point of the narrative is the centurion’s faith in Jesus’ authority, especially
        juxtaposed against the doubt of the religious leaders, not any possible relationship
        which the centurion had with his servant. In other words, it is the centurion’s faith that is sanctioned. This is clear by the use of the verb parakaleo. The centurion, who cares
        about his servant, recognizes Jesus is his superior, and in his own words recognizes
        Jesus’ authority. He has complete faith that Jesus, having authority to make his servant well, can do so regardless of his location.

        In sum, Michaelson’s argument that Jesus affirmed same-sex relationships is a gross
        misinterpretation of the New Testament, and completely misses the point of the
        passage.

        Tom Ferguson
        March, 2014

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      • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-michaelson/when-jesus-healed-a-same-sex-partner_b_1743947.html

        Some people argue, what about the fact that the only sanctioned relationship in the Bible is between a man and a woman? Well, in fact, that’s not quite the case. The story of the faithful centurion, told in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, is about a Roman centurion who comes to Jesus and begs that Jesus heal his pais, a word sometimes translated as “servant.” Jesus agrees and says he will come to the centurion’s home, but the centurion says that he does not deserve to have Jesus under his roof, and he has faith that if Jesus even utters a word of healing, the healing will be accomplished. Jesus praises the faith of the centurion, and the pais is healed. This tale illustrates the power and importance of faith, and how anyone can possess it. The centurion is not a Jew, yet he has faith in Jesus and is rewarded.

        But pais does not mean “servant.” It means “lover.” In Thucydides, in Plutarch, in countless Greek sources, and according to leading Greek scholar Kenneth Dover, pais refers to the junior partner in a same-sex relationship. Now, this is not exactly a marriage of equals. An erastes-pais relationship generally consisted of a somewhat older man, usually a soldier between the ages of 18 and 30, and a younger adolescent, usually between the ages of 13 and 18. Sometimes that adolescent was a slave, as seems to be the case here. It would be inappropriate, in my view, to use the word “gay” to describe such a relationship; that word, and its many connotations, comes from our time, not that of Ancient Greece and Rome. This is not a relationship that any LGBT activist would want to promote today.

        However, it is a same-sex relationship nonetheless. (It is also basically the same as the soldier/armor-bearer in the model of David and Jonathan, which I’ll explore in a future article.) And what is Jesus’s response? Does he spit in the centurion’s face for daring to suggest that he heal the soldier’s lover? Hardly. He recognizes the relationship and performs an act of grace.

        Now, could pais really just mean “servant”? There are several reasons why this makes no sense. First, one would not expect a Roman centurion to intercede, let alone “beg” (parakaloon), on behalf of a mere servant or slave. Second, while Luke refers to the young man as a doulos (slave), the centurion himself specifically calls him a pais; this strongly suggests that the distinction is important. Third, we know that the erastes-pais intimate relationship was common practice among Roman soldiers, who were not allowed to take wives, and whose life was patterned on the Greek model of soldier-lovers. If pais just means “servant,” none of this makes any sense.

        If I and dozens of other scholars (some of whom are listed below) are correct, this is a radical act. Jesus is extending his hand not only to the centurion but to his partner, as well. In addition to Jesus’ silence on homosexuality in general (he never mentions same-sex intimacy, not once, despite its prevalence in his social context), it speaks volumes that he did not hesitate to heal a Roman’s likely same-sex lover. Like his willingness to include former prostitutes in his close circle, Jesus’ engagement with those whose conduct might offend sexual mores even today is a statement of radical inclusion, and of his own priorities for the spiritual life.

        It also sets up a useful distinction for those who may be struggling with same-sex marriage as a religious act, but who nonetheless want their gay and lesbian family members, friends, and community members not to be discriminated against. Jesus is not conducting a same-sex marriage here. Yet he is recognizing a socially accepted same-sex relationship. Likewise, Christians and Jews today who may not be ready to celebrate same-sex weddings in their own churches and synagogues can and should endorse civil marriage equality in the public sphere. In a very different context, this is exactly what Jesus did 2,000 years ago

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      • 1 John 4 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. . . . And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”

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    • “Does this mean that He discriminated and condemned lesbians (who also look on women with intent to lust) but he discriminated in favour of gays (who look upon men with intent to commit adultery)?”

      This speaks loads about your attitudes, Davinci, when you equate committed caring relationships with lust. I have known many homosexuals, and I see the gentle loving caring that most have – more so than many heterosexual couples.

      God’s instruction to go forth and multiply while population levels were low definitely helped society. Do you think he meant it to be carried to extremes, or that he might rather encourage more homosexual relationships?

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      • “God’s instruction to go forth and multiply while population levels were low definitely helped society. Do you think he meant it to be carried to extremes, or that he might rather encourage more homosexual relationships?”

        Let me ask you a question – Does the western world (which endorses homosexuality) have a problem with aging population? If so why encourage homosexuality instead of more breeding?

        Let me ask you another question – Do you have a “Thus said the Lord” or an “It is written” from the Bible to support your statement that God would support homosexual relationships? Or did you interpret the Bible through a pagan lens?

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      • So we should encourage more same sex couples to become parents ? Or should we just not worry about the negligible impact of the couple of percent of the population who are gay ?

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      • “Thus said the Lord” or an “It is written”!!

        That would make it truly God’s word?

        What comes to mind for me is the parody of a children’s hymn –

        “The Bible is God’s word, I know,
        Because the Bible tells me so!”

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      • Just because it takes sex between a man and a woman to start a child does not mean that sex can have no other purpose, such as bonding, pleasure, recreation or even variety. It’s quite clear that it does. The problem with religion is that it narrows and restricts everything about sex, which it appears to fear.
        Particularly the Catholic Church, and look where that got it!

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  3. Jimmy Carter is brave for showing Christian common sense about gay marriage.
    Pope Francis also says the issue of gay marriage should be studied and not dismissed out-of-hand,
    Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the outspoken archbishop of New York, said Pope Francis had told him: “Rather than quickly condemn them, let’s just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people.”

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  4. Gay marriage is coming because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one. The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody’s legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse. A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage. The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it’s that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth. Ultimately, then, it is the business of the courts, not churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled.”

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    • As I pointed out just recently, in the Christian West, there was no Sacrament of Marriage until approximately 1600. As you said correctly the legality of marriage is of a secular nature. In older days, as in ancient Judaism marriages were simply arranged family to family.
      Rian.

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    • Here is an interesting article on the possible ‘effects’ of gay marriage.

      ” I oppose same-sex marriage.

      Unlike the vast majority of cases against same sex marriage I am not going to use arguments of procreation, or compare same-sex parenting to heterosexual parenting. I will use neither religious arguments, nor natural law arguments, nor arguments based off of preference.

      Rather this case, which is a secular case, made by a secular writer, emphasizes overlooked aspects of the empirical costs of legalizing same-sex marriage.

      Some of the overlooked aspects include the ways in which same sex marriage expands the marital institution to include gender identity, transgender individuals, transsexual individuals, bisexual individuals who want a same-sex marriage, and how these new dimensions will impact the marriage institution.

      The marriage institution will be impacted not because same-sex couples can’t procreate within their union, but rather quite the opposite: the fact that there are many same-sex couples raising children will change family law within the marriage institution.”

      Some of the issues discussed:

      – How Transgender, Transsexual, and Bisexual Identities will Impact the Marriage Institution

      – SSM is both a battering ram and a bridge.

      – Deeper Implications

      – Biology on Trial in Same-Sex Custody Cases

      – The central problem is not that same-sex couples cannot reproduce!

      http://englishmanif.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/la-joie-de-vivre-14-why-same-sex.html

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      • “interesting ” is one word for the article, mish mash stream of consciousness brain explosion could be another.

        A coherent point or two in there wouldn’t have hurt.

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    • True. I went to VicRoads once to take care of some paperwork in putting a car registration in my wife’s name, I produced our marriage certificate as proof of partnership to act on her behalf, but the person on the counter said she couldn’t accept that and a Tax or CentreLink statement would be preferable. Turns out a marriage certificate is a valid form of partnership identification, I guess the person I first got on the counter might have been a bit anti-theist, but I find more and more that the interest in proof of partnership is financial.

      Like

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