Jimmy Carter’s Christianity

(Photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)

My thoughts on Easter morning, prompted by Jimmy Carter’s responses to Nicholas Kristof in NYT:

Jimmy Carter is a decent man. In describing his Christian faith, he talks about his personal struggle to live his faith. He does not judge others nor seek to impose his beliefs on others. This is fundamentally different from the attitudes and behavior of people and organizations like Bishop Harry Jackson, the Family Research Council, and the Archdiocese of Washington, whom I have battled in D.C. Council hearings over the years, who are religious bullies, yet who act as if they are under siege when other citizens stand up to them.

It is good to note, on this morning of the Resurrection, how many Christian leaders in Washington have resembled President Carter and contrasted with the bullies. They would agree with his description of the life and teachings of Jesus as exemplifying “peace, love, compassion, humility, forgiveness and sacrificial love.” Like Mr. Carter, they embrace St. Paul’s words to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

These decent people include Co-Pastors Dennis and Christine Wiley at Covenant Baptist UCC; Pastor Rob Hardies at All Souls Unitarian; Pastor Graylan Hagler at Plymouth UCC; Bishop Gene Robinson at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, who is leading Easter services today at their temporary worship space on Newton St. NW; Pastor Dwayne Johnson at Metropolitan Community Church; Pastor Dyan Abena McCray-Peters at Unity Fellowship Church; and many others. These clergy reflect the good people in their congregations, including friends of mine who are singing in choirs at Easter services today.

So much of my time as an activist has involved fighting the bullies. That necessary work can distort one’s perspective. So on this beautiful morning I salute the affirming clergy and congregants who help make my hometown one of the most welcoming to LGBT folks in America. May this day be one of joy and renewal for you, who are true neighbors.


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