Jimmy Carter at 90
Just after my book Harbors of Heaven was published I dropped a copy of it into a padded mailer along with a brief letter of appreciation for the recipient and sent it off to the executive office of The Carter Center in Atlanta. My thoughts ran to Jimmy Carter as the most famous living person with noted sympathies for some of the unusual and out-of-the-mainstream major and minor confluences in the book: biblical theology, informal literary analysis of poetry, bird hunting and rural American life.
A few weeks after the package went out in the mail there appeared in my mailbox an envelope from The Carter Center. Where the stamp should have been there was a postmark across a familiar signature. Inside was a note that read in part: Rosalynn joins me in thanking you for the signed copy…It is a welcome addition to our collection, and we appreciate your remembering us in such a thoughtful way…
I am the son of middle America Eisenhower Republicans. My parents voted for Carter’s opponents, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. As a Midwesterner by birth and a New Englander by choice I have hardly any emotional ties to Carter’s Georgia, but I have deep affinity for some of the substance of his public life, such as his small-town egalitarian values, patriotism, biblically-nformed life view, commitment to human rights for all people as a Christian teaching translated into a social and constitutional principle.
Now in his 90th year, Jimmy Carter hasn’t quit. His latest book is A Call to Action, Women, Religion, Violence and Power.
From A Call to Action:
More than any other nation, the United States has been almost constantly involved in armed conflict and, through military alliances, has used war as a means of resolving international and local disputes….Some of these military actions may have been justified in the defense of our nation or its vital interests, but the tragedy is that their easy adoption, sometimes without the consent or knowledge of the public or most of the members of Congress, has made the resort to violence a natural and even popular facet of foreign policy…it is difficult to envision how our country can regain its commitment to human rights if we remain entangled in permanent global warfare. p. 59