Revisiting Jimmy Carter’s Resignation from the Southern Baptists

April 10, 2013

“Jimmy Carter vs. the SBC/Driscoll/Victoria’s Secret—a Sea Change? 
Christian Piatt, writing for the Red Letter Christians website, interacts with various paragraphs from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s essay about why he resigned from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) several years ago. The Women’s Press had recently reprinted the article for those who missed it when it was first published, prompting Christian Piatt to use it as a jumping-off point to show specific ways Carter’s concerns about religious and societal discriminatory attitudes and actions toward women must be addressed anew right now. “The first step toward seeing the objectification, other-ization and suppression of women is recognizing the problem still exists,” writes Piatt.

You might also want to read the complete original article written by Jimmy Carter for the British publication, The Observer, which was headlined, “The words of God do not justify cruelty to women.” Carter said his decision to break his lifelong ties with the SBC was difficult and painful but “an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief— confirmed in the holy scriptures—that we are all equal in the eyes of God.”  It’s an excellent article, well worth reading again even if you read it when it was first published.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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