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Jimmy Carter: Jesus Would Approve of Gay Marriage, and So Do I

The former president has "no problem" with gay weddings, though he adds that churches shouldn't be forced to perform them.

Jesus wouldn't have any issue with gay marriage, former president Jimmy Carter said Sunday.

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Carter, a born-again Christian, was asked about his personal views on homosexual marriage. "That's no problem with me," the Democratic former president replied. "I think that everybody should have a right to get married, regardless of their sex."

Later on in the interview, Carter said he believes Jesus would "approve" of gay marriage, though he doesn't "have any verse in Scripture" to back that up. "I think Jesus would encourage any...love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else and I don't see that gay marriage damages anyone else," he said.

Though Carter supports gay marriage, he doesn't think the government should "force" churches that oppose it to perform such ceremonies.

Carter's faith has led him to disagree with his party on at least one controversial issue. "I have had a problem with abortion," he said. "I have a hard time believing that Jesus, for instance, would approve abortions unless it was because of rape or incest or if the mother's life was in danger. So I've had that struggle."

Carter took office in 1977, four years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973) that legalized first-trimester abortion at the federal level. However, his "oath of office was to obey the Constitution and the laws of this country as interpreted by the Supreme Court, so I went along with that," he said.

Though many presidential scholars don't look very favorably on Carter's four years in office, a look at what he actually did reveals it wasn't all lousy. Not only was his record on nonmilitary federal spending better than that of the five presidents who came before him, but he also worked to deregulate the oil, railroad, trucking, and airline industries. And by '70s standards, Carter's record on gay rights wasn't bad: In 1978, he publicly opposed an amendment to California's constitution that would have banned gay people from teaching.

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  • Homple||

    Jimmy Carter, Reason and Jesus have a libertarian moment together.

  • Libertymike||

    Jimmy Carter, Matt Welch, and Jesus walk into a bar....

    Bartender: What will you three fucking wisemen have?

    Jimmy Carter: I'll have an overdraft.

    Bartender: What the fuck is that?

    Jimmy Carter: You never heard of the beer created by my brother and Bert Lance, you ignoramus?

    Matt Welch: I'll have a cosmopolitan.

    Jesus: How gay.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Moron

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Funny.

  • Eddy||

    "However, his 'oath of office was to obey the Constitution and the laws of this country as interpreted by the Supreme Court'"

    That's funny, in my copy of the Constitution it reads "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

  • operagost||

    It IS nonsense for any branch to do its job while fretting over what the other branches might do.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Though Carter supports gay marriage, he doesn't think the government should "force" churches that oppose it to perform such ceremonies.

    The killer rabbit that is the current Democratic Party is going to hunt him down and toss him overboard.

  • Bearded Spock||

    I see what you did there....

  • Don't look at me.||

    He was so bad he made Ronnie look good.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Yeah but Ron didn't get a badass Seawolf SSN named after him, just a run of the mill Nimitz CVN. *yawn*

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Let me try!
    Let's see, I believe Jesus approves of...drone strikes.
    No, that's silly.
    I believe Jesus approves of draining the swamp.
    No, that didn't work out well for him back in the day.
    One more try.
    I believe Jesus approves of people putting words in his mouth.
    Done.

  • Citizen X||

    "Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks" - Jesus of Nazareth

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    "Red hot mama
    Velvet charmer
    Time's come to pay your dues"
    ---Nazareth

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Because when it comes to the Bible, it's scripture or GTFO.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Well, claims that Jesus would support X, when the claim is directly and explicitly contradicted by scripture ought to be taken with several tons of salt.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Does anybody have a recording of Jesus saying "don't fuck sheep"? Because if nobody has a recording then clearly Jesus was cool with people fucking sheep.

  • Zeb||

    "Blessed are the sheep-worriers". -G-Zus

    But the common interpretation takes that to apply to all those who have carnal knowledge of livestock of whatever sort.

  • geo1113||

    "Blessed are the sheep-worriers"...because they shall inherit the 'wool'.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    I want to hear a recording of all this Trinity to man talk El Shaddai/YHWH did in the past because It's been pretty quiet lately. I'm starting to have my doubts.

  • Libertymike||

    Why didn't Jesus condemn homosexuality if it is so bad?

    Why shouldn't there be a scriptural hierarchy such that the final word belongs to the Gospels?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "Why didn't Jesus condemn homosexuality if it is so bad?"
    Jesus knew that lawyers had to be born somehow.

  • Technomad||

    He didn't condemn cannibalism or incest eo nominee if memory serves.

  • Fancylad||

    when it comes to the Bible, it's scripture or GTFO
    Seeing as the books of the New Testament are the only record of Jesus of Nazareth, yeah. Now which books you accept as canon is a different question.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I believe Jesus approves of people putting words in his mouth.


    Jesus was a Jew that wasn't trying to start a new religion. But then his followers went and started a new religion, and spent millennia harassing the followers of his religion.

    So regardless of whether or not he approves of it, it is at least traditional.

  • Fancylad||

    wasn't trying to start a new religion
    The man went around insinuating he was not just the messiah, but also God incarnate. That was pretty out there for Judaism, even for the Essenes, let alone the pharisee movement.

    I think C.S. Lewis said it best regarding the trope that Jesus was simply a moralist:
    "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

  • Malvolio||

    I've always wanted to ask C.S. Lewis, couldn't he just have been mistaken? He thought he was the messiah, but nope, he wasn't.

    And really, the whole "great moral teacher" thing is mostly politeness. All non-Christians are doing when we say that is trying to change the subject and not start a fight.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Jesus, now in his third egeneration, is far too busy making his way up and down history stopping alien imvasions, cataclysmic phenomen, and Hillary Clinton to bother with people's sexual proclivities.

  • ||

    Carter's record on gay rights wasn't bad: In 1978, he publicly opposed an amendment to California's constitution that would have banned gay people from teaching.

    Because gay people as a class have a right to public school jobs or because libertarians support public education in general?

  • Eddy||

    Because he didn't want to be caught flatfooted by Ronald Reagan, who also opposed the measure?

  • Zeb||

    Or because it's stupid and counterproductive (and just shitty) to exclude people from jobs because of a single characteristic that has nothing to do with their ability to do the job. One of those.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Just as org as they aren't fucking the children.

  • Cathy L||

    Because libertarians are against the state discriminating against classes of its citizens.

  • Grakkus||

    "Because libertarians are against the state"

    Yup.

    "discriminating against classes of its citizens."

    Nope.

    Dumber move, putting words in Jesus' mouth, or claiming "libertarians" agree as a whole on anything?

  • ||

    Nope. "Civil libertarians" are fine with the school system discriminating against people with face tattoos, short stature, etc. as long as they don't have an on the books policy about it (and for some groups, even if they do). There are even plenty of administrators out there, right now, saying and advocating that black teachers are better at teaching black kids and that schools are morally obligated take advantage of that fact. If the positions opened to homosexuals and, suddenly, the school systems turned around, you might have a case to support your feelz. Instead, the positions opened to homosexuals and a decade later, we were being outschooled by the Japanese (and wider Asian) monoculture(s) while we were teaching our kids diversity through ebonics.

    Hire *everyone* and have your cake or fuck you, cut spending, and eat it. Not both.

  • Zeb||

    Hire *everyone* and have your cake or fuck you, cut spending, and eat it.

    Insert a "qualified" or two, and the standard disclaimer about public schools in there and you more or less have the libertarian position, I'd say.

  • ||

    Insert a "qualified" or two, and the standard disclaimer about public schools in there and you more or less have the libertarian position, I'd say.

    You act like I get paid to write for a libertarian publication or something.

  • Zeb||

    I mean, we're all on the Koch payroll, right?

  • Cathy L||

    So...you think civil libertarians would be okay with schools banning anyone under 5'6" from teaching?

    How about banning men from teaching?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Private schools not hiring men or short people? Libertarians would not want government to force a private school to hire them.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I have a friend who is an elementary school principal. She can't hire a male teacher at that level to save her life. It's an ongoing gripe of hers.

  • Malvolio||

    Amazing how the Almighty's views on every subject exactly track Mr. Carter's.

    Jesus he knows me
    And he knows I'm right
    I've been talking to Jesus all my life
    Oh yes he knows me
    And he knows I'm right
    And he's been telling me
    Everything is all right

  • Fancylad||

    A god created in the image of Jimmy's mind.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Jimmy didn't mobilize the nation the fight a war. There's no way historians would ever rank him as great.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He fought a trade war over oil. Remember that? I do. I remember waiting in long lines for gasoline.

    I doubt reason will dig up (get it?) that fact when sucking Carter's dick.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If Jimmy Carter says Jesus wouldn't have had a problem with gay marriage, then Christians everywhere are supposed to think it's okay--is that what we're supposed to think?

    Homosexuality as an identity didn't exist as we think of it today before the advent of psychology--and neither did heterosexuality. Psychology wanted to define the aberrant behavior, so they created a term for it, and once that happened, they invented heterosexuality as the norm.

    Before the advent of psychology, various sexual behaviors we think of today as identifiers were simply understood as perversity. This wasn't limited to people of the same sex having sex with each other; it also applied to heterosexuals whom (for obviously insane reasons) wanted to have sex outside of marriage. It even applied to men who wanted to have too much sex within a marriage!

    Homosexuality, rape, incest, prostitution, masturbation, premarital sex, too much sex within marriage, sodomy (various acts between men or men and women), any sex without procreative intent . . . talking about these things before the advent of psychology in today's terms is absurd.

  • EscherEnigma||

    And yet, the behaviors that those terms described most certainly did exist before the terms. "A rose by any other name" and all that jazz. Modern terms help to talk about concepts, but they didn't invent them.

  • Bubba Jones||

    As I understand it, Homosexuality in Biblical times was more of an action than an identity.

    I get the sense that people were fucking everything that moved. Homosexuality was more of a power relationship between an older and a younger man. It wasn't a lifestyle.

    To me, that argues that "modern" homosexuality isn't really discussed in the Bible. I fail to see a parallel between current self-identified homosexuals and the men that had to be bribed with a virgin daughter to prevent them from raping a guest.

  • Zeb||

    I find it really weird that people can read that story and conclude that the point was to condemn being gay.

    But apparently "don't violently rape visitors to your city" is the same as "God hates fags".

  • Ken Shultz||

    "As I understand it, Homosexuality in Biblical times was more of an action than an identity."

    It's still that way in much of the world.

    In much of the Muslim world, catching is considered awful. Pitching is no big deal.

    It's apparently like that in prison.

    It was like that in classical Rome, where finding out that someone is screwing his man slave is about as interesting as watching the wheat grow. Finding out that some Roman citizen is letting a man screw him on the other hand? The sentence was death.

    Up through Victorian times, beginning to change about the turn of the 20th century, the only group you were part of because of what you liked to do with your dingy was the sinners. Some things were considered worse than others the way robbing a little old lady is worse than snatching an apple from a grocery store. More or less, though, they were all just considered thieves.

  • EscherEnigma||

    If you're just talking about the bible, then go for it. "Biblical scholars" have been arguing for years that the bible doesn't really condemn gay people, and that the church(es) have been teaching it wrong for a thousand years. I mean hell, even the hippy churches that are fine with gay people don't really try the "the bible isn't talking about gay people" line, they just say "ignore that part, like the parts that command women and slaves to be obedient".

    My point, (which, upon reflection, may have been irrelevant to Ken's point if he was just trying to talk about biblical condemnations) was just that men didn't spontaneously decide "to hell with women, let's consensually fuck each other instead" in the 1800s, they'd been doing that all along. Same with trans folk. We have stories of folk being "life-long crossdressers" going back a long time, with both "men" and "women" doing so (complete with husbands and wives). People trying to live opposite of how they were born wasn't something invented in the 1800s. It just didn't have a label before then.

    And that said, while yeah, when folks were caught they were just labeled as regular ol' perverts, that has never meant that such sodomy/buggery charges were exclusively used in the cases of (statutory) rape. They were applied to consenting adults plenty of times too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    For Christians, all of this is covered under the term "adultery". Jesus wouldn't have condoned breaking that commandment any more than he would have condoned breaking the commandment against lying, theft, worshiping idols, or murder.

    Jesus would not have supported stoning gay people ("Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"), and he wouldn't have condoned using the government to administer God's will ("The kingdom of God is within you"). However, he would not have condoned anybody breaking the commandment against adultery:

    "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

    Matthew 5:17-19

    I don't know if there's a word for people who can't tell the difference between ethical obligations and legal obligations, but that word certainly isn't "libertarian". We're supposed to be good at telling the difference between things that are unethical and things that should be illegal. Anybody who needs Christians to explain the difference to them, probably isn't much of a libertarian.

  • uunderstand||

    Thank you this explanation, especially how the terms arose from psychology.

  • Tony||

    Hard to separate the legal from the ethical. It's one side (gays are gross) vs. another (gays deserve equal rights) pitting different sets of ethics against each other and wanting to impose them on everyone.

    I don't mind suggesting that this is simply a zero-sum competition and one side or the other will win (temporarily at least). Because the conservatards have already figured this out, even if libtards haven't.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Hard to separate the legal from the ethical"

    Yeah, you can't tell the difference between the ethics of cheating on your spouse and the criminality of cheating on your spouse.

    Even after it's been explained to you a million times.

    You don't understand because you're willfully obtuse.

  • Tony||

    Oh so we have laws against child rape but it has nothing to do with ethics. Just cold rational calculation about population maintenance.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Ken, Tony is likely at least a borderline sociopath. So despite anything he says, he really has little intrinsic understanding of ethics. Other than as talking points his progressive masters have instructed him to use.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Most of the infatuation around sex in the New Testament seems to come from Paul.

    Some of that might be a question of translating different terms for "immorality" and some of that might be that Paul was personally obsessed with sex.

  • Zeb||

    Jesus would have required everyone to get gay married.

  • Cy||

    For the mandated health insurance that he would also require everyone to get!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jesus would have also convinced his dad to fire and brimstone Iraq again, so Booosh didnt have to invade.

  • operagost||

    Nice to see that Carter has swung so libertarian. I do wonder if his belief that gay marriage is OK because it's "not damaging to anyone else" would extend to other things, like
    - Firearm ownership
    - Manufacture, sale, and use of intoxicating substances
    - Recyclable plastics
    - Flags

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Carter is not a Libertarian.

    Carter does not want to upset anyone for being pro-gay 40 years after he could have pushed for gay rights during his presidency.

    freedom isn't free but some people are freedom freeloaders.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'm pretty sure that every Christian believes that Jesus would condone whatever it is that they condone.

  • Citizen X||

    Jesus is cool like that.

  • Libertymike||

    Is he cool enough that you would wash his feet?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    We'd 69 washing each other's feet.

  • Zeb||

    With each other's tears.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Collect your chicken dinner at the door.

  • Grakkus||

    To be fair, there are probably a few that don't. Somewhere.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sure. Mostly among the younger crowd, when they're still forming their own beliefs/behaviors distinct from the religious beliefs they were taught.

    But long-term, the cognitive dissonance will force most folk to reconcile either by changing their personal beliefs/behaviors or changing their religious beliefs.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    I don't know. I condone kicking you in the nuts, but I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't be down for that.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I dunno. Jesus got mad a couple times and lashed out.

  • damikesc||

    I forgot Carter's ascension to being Jesus II.

  • Bearded Spock||

    I think this is probably the first time Jimmy Carter has recognized that he and Jesus are separate persons.

  • Juice||

    ...*blink*blink*.......riiight...

  • Cynical Asshole||

    To be fair, Jimmy is probably the only person left who was alive when Jesus was, so he probably talked to him personally about it.

  • Citizen X||

    Hey, Mike Hihn was around then too, but he always thought Jesus was a fascist BULLY. *snort*

    Hebrews + Philistines = 0

  • Number 2||

    ""I think that everybody should have a right to get married, regardless of their sex.""

    That's certainly big of you, Jimmie.

  • Seamus||

    Being gay didn't stop Cole Porter or John Maynard Keynes from getting married.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Dear Jimmy,

    You had your shot at posterity and blew it. This scrabbling for scraps of fame is unseemly. Go away.

  • Zeb||

    I suppose he is bound to go away before too long.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    He is strangely beloved. I don't know why. Perhaps he's just been post-President for so damn long now, he has some sort of weird liberal sainthood now.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, think about what's the worst people say about him? On all of the typical big items he's a pretty big "meh". No big civil rights struggles or achievements attributed to him, no wars under his name, nothing big at all, really. He wasn't terribly beloved or hated at the time, it was basically 4 years of non-upsetting status-quo.

    And as he goes further into the past, you have lots of folks talking shit about every president before and after. But the worst that folks say about Carter just ain't all that bad. It helps that he's just vaguely "nice" and polite.

  • Eddy||

    Also, while he wasn't a good President, he's OK as ex-President, what with his charities and whatever, and voters are glad they elected him ex-President.

  • Bubba Jones||

    That depends on where you stand with respect to Israel/Palestine.

  • Citizen X||

    He legalized microbrewing. Is that not legacy enough? Maybe not, if the microbew has a lot of hops in it.

  • Curly4||

    It took Carter a long time to get that sainthood, almost as some Catholic saints. Now for the rest of Christianity they became saints when they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Well, if you are going to be a heretic, you might as well go all the way.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So I suppose that means Carter would have went along with Dred Scott decision if it had still been relevant.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Carter is from Georgia. I don't think it's unfair to say that had he been an adult in 1860 that he would have probably been A-OK with Dred Scott.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Carter is a Democrat just like all the pro-slavery people that were members of the Democratic Party.

  • Curly4||

    Yes and Jesus Christ would also approve of murder, rape, theft, adultery, etc, etc!

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    I think Carter's life is an example of how people can really make an impact in society. While he was president, he didn't really do anything particularly great. After office he started a charity that created thousands of homes for people, many of whom have improved their lot in life greatly. Just goes to show that if you really want to make a difference in the lives of others, private life is a much better route.

  • Citizen X||

    Jimmy Carter got involved with Habitat in 1984, almost 20 years after it was founded, but the rest of your point stands.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I think he also contributed to intifada, so ...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He is an example of a do-gooder that does no real good when they have power but does some good when they are living off taxpayers for spending years in Congress and 4 years as president.

  • Seamus||

    If we're going to accept the extension of marriage to same-sex couples on the basis of what we think Jesus *would* have approved (because, as we all know, there were no gay people in Jesus' day), then we have to take into account what he actually *did* say, and prohibit divorce for same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Funny how all these politicians are so pro-gay now that they have no power.

    Fuck you Jimmy Carter and just croak already. You were one of the worst presidents ever but even Booosh, Obama, FDR, LBJ, JFK, Nixon, Johnson, and Bill Clinton were worse than you.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Yes, he did follow Reagan's leadership in opposing CA's Briggs Amendment that tried to ban gay teachers.

    It was one of very few times that Reagan used ridicule, even though he repeatedly joined with Goldwater in attacking the Christian Taliban (a FACTION of the Christian right). He ridiculed the ballot measure by saying gay teachers were no threat to our children, because homosexuality is not communicable, like measles. KAPOW!

    It was the first defeat for the nationwide anti-gay Anita Bryant Crusade, which then collapsed, brought down by Reagan and Carter (among others). We all know who would scream in rage at that fact, right? The same people Reagan and Carter both defied. The haters.

  • Cumbubbulus||

    Hey, it got awful hot and steamy walking around the desert with 12 young dudes. No doubt Christ loved teh gayz.

  • Cumbubbulus||

    Gives a whole new meaning to Sermon on the Mount...

  • Cloudbuster||

    Why would I care about his moral opinion? He admitted himself, "[I] committed adultery in my heart many times." Skeevy old perv!

  • jagjr||

    "Though many presidential scholars don't look very favorably on Carter's four years in office, a look at what he actually did reveals it wasn't all lousy."

    creating the fed dept of education to buy the teacher's unions, & the dept of energy to expand federal control of yet another major industry (& guarantee the continuation of massive subsidies) offsets any good that he may have inadvertently done.

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