President Jimmy Carter Talks About 93 Years of “Faith”

After 93 years and a stint in the White House, Jimmy Carter remains the eternal optimist. In his 32nd, and perhaps final book, the former governor of Georgia, 39th president of the United States, peace negotiator and Sunday School teacher looks at how his devotion to God has shaped his life and legacy.

Titled simply “Faith,” Carter’s new release was published in conjunction with Religion News Service and comes at a time when he has begun to scale back some of his activities. Among them is his favorite Sunday school lessons in Plains, Georgia, although he plans to give a Liberty University commencement speech in May.

Talking about “Faith,” Carter has given numerous public appearances and audiences have enjoyed his everlasting smile, jovial nature and ability to deflect tough questions about current events with a joke and a grin.

Carter has maintained his Faith in God as well as everyday people for nearly a century. That perspective shines through in his new book and many of the answers he’s provided the news media on the book trail. These have included the following.

When asked about the one-word title, Carter said:

“My publishers felt that, with the world situation today, a lot of people have lost faith in basic principles that shouldn’t be ever questioned: faith in democracy, faith in freedom, faith in equality, faith in the integrity of the truth, faith in the idea of education, faith in ourselves, quite often, faith in our fellow human beings.”

When asked about his somewhat controversial acceptance of the Liberty University speech, Carter said:

“I haven’t had any difference of opinion with the current president (of Liberty University). I had difficulties sometimes with his father. But I got the invitation, which was something of a surprise to me, and I consulted with my, I say, more moderate Baptist friends. And overwhelmingly they advised me to take a chance as one more step in a longtime effort to provide some element of reconciliation among Christians, and particularly among Baptists, who disagree with each other.”

When asked about scaling back his Sunday School teaching dates in Plains, Georgia, Carter answered:

“I’ve cut back on my overseas travel already. I’m going on 94 years old and my wife is 90 years old. She’s been quite ill lately. And, so, we both decided just to cut back on our extracurricular activities. We have a wonderful teacher when I’m not there.”

When asked about the global challenges of environmental ruin and a nuclear North Korea, Carter had this to say:

“Well, we’ve had those tensions for a long time and I think they’ve been kind of exacerbated lately by the rhetoric that exists between the United States and other countries, including North Korea and Russia and involving Syria and other places. But this is something that I learned when I was first elected president, before I was sworn in: that I had the ability with 15,000 or more nuclear weapons, along with those owned by the Soviet Union, to wipe out all living creatures on earth.”

“And so that still is a responsibility or a duty that addresses every president in office.”

“The next real challenge for us is to learn how to apply, I’d say, Christian and other religious principles in learning how to live with each other in harmony and mutual respect and even some elements of love with those with whom we disagree. And that’s a major challenge that’s very difficult to achieve but I think it’s the most important thing that we face today.”

When asked to explain what he meant in his book by, “God is not my personal valet,” he replied:

“When I was younger I used to devote my prayers primarily to things that I wanted God to help me get or to do or to accomplish. As I’ve gotten older and older I realized that my main prayers—I didn’t make this decision in advance—but my main prayers are ones of thanksgiving. And I had this feeling in particular when I thought a couple of years ago that I was going to die in a couple of weeks from cancer. I had cancer in my liver and also four places in my brain. And so I thought my life was about over, and I realized at that time that I didn’t have any fear of death. I was just grateful for the wonderful life that I had been granted.”

When asked about how he would best liked to be remembered, Carter had this to say.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind people remembering me as a Habitat Build volunteer. But also, I would say in that White House and in The Carter Center we’ve tried to emphasize peace and human rights. And I try to be a champion of peace. I was able, and fortunate enough, to keep my country at peace for four years, which is kind of a rare achievement, and also to be a champion of human rights. So that’s what I’m proud of, among other things. I was blessed with a good wife and a good marriage.”

When asked if he still had Faith despite the challenges he has faced, Carter had this to say:

“That’s the main thrust of the book. Despite the challenges that we face, based on my past experience and the past achievements of my country and the world, I still have faith in the ability of human beings to survive and to overcome the transient problems that face us all.”

In many ways, Jimmy Carter’s life has been a beacon of hope for people of all Faiths. He won the White House at a time when the United States had endured war and scandal. He brought peace, kindness and stability during a volatile period. After his presidency, he went on to bring world leaders to engage in peace talks and exemplified a Christian life in large and seemingly small ways. Those looking to affirm their “Faith” may find it in a man that has Faith in all of us.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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