Jimmy Carter’s Rally for Liberal Baptists Flops

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Hoping to excite liberal Baptists with leftist political activism and resentment over the “strident” i.e. “conservative” Southern Baptist Convention, Jimmy Carter hosted a New Baptist Covenant II (NBCII) jamboree in Atlanta in November, with satellite meetings across the nation.

Only about 250 people showed up on each of several days of NBCII at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, according to Associated Baptist Press. “We had hoped for a larger attendance,” admitted one organizer.

The first New Baptist Covenant gathering had attracted over 15,000 in 2008.  Organizers of NBCII reportedly hoped more than 30,000 would participate nationwide this time.

My colleague Jeff Walton attended a satellite gathering at a large Washington, D.C. Baptist church, where all of 5 or 6 people sat in a cavernous sanctuary watching Jimmy Carter appear on a giant screen.  Apparently a 300 seat Philadelphia church was nearly as empty.  There were 9 satellite stations for liberal Baptists to gather and watch the former president, along with Welfare State champion Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund and liberal evangelist Tony Campolo, former spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton.

Famously prominent at his Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, Carter has for many years condemned the theological and political conservatism of the Southern Baptist Convention.  He has even loudly and publicly “resigned” several times from it, even though only congregations and not individuals are members of the Convention.

Although touted as one of America’s first evangelical presidents, Carter’s theology and politics more closely resemble the stances of declining, leftist-dominated Mainline Protestant denominations.   Arguing that the relatively robust, 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention should become more like the spiraling Episcopal Church is difficult, of course.  But Carter rarely shies from Don Quixote causes.

Speaking at the Atlanta church in an interview format with PBS religion journalist Bob Abernathy, Carter recalled his Carter Center’s admirable work in nearly eradicating the guinea worm parasite in Third World nations.  But Carter quickly got political, praising Occupy Wall Street and bemoaning the “division in the country between the rich and powerful” and the less privileged.   “The powerful people who control government have to be reminded from the bottom that things need to change,” Carter announced, according to my colleague, whose accounts are here and here.  One Carter solution: “I think tax rates ought to be raised for the top 1 percent.”

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  • John_Kelly

    Hope you finally got the message Jimmy.

    You were a loser as a President and in case you forgot, they voted you out of office in a landslide.

    Basically Jimmy no one cares for your opinion on anything.

    Do America and the world a favor and go back to growing peanuts.

    • Peter

      Take a look in the mirror, and you might see someone who never became a Naval commander, successful businessman and of course, President of the United States.
      And I ask you, who's the loser?

      • John_Kelly

        Is that you Jimmy ?

  • Ann

    He was a loser president, who most people can't stand — his polices were so bad, never got the hint—liberals never ever learn — socialism does not work — ever— look around at the EU, as it go's down in flames!

  • mrbean

    Old senile peanut farmer Jimmay Cawta flapping his maindless lips again. May he live long and prosper. Not too long nor prosper too much!

  • myhemen

    Liberals has failed this country. All they did were get paid high spewing their useless drivel. Then ask for more federal money to live in hog and self promote themselves as the defender for the little people. Useless parasites.

    • Peter

      How many houses have you built for the poor?

  • Trickle_Up_Poverty

    Jimmy wants a new Baptist church like the one Obama attended…

    Timothy 4:1–
    Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    • http://Lucianne.com redtate

      That is truly what is happening the country today, giving heed to seducing SPIRITS.

      It is also a SIGN of the end times–"when you see these things BEGIN to happen,
      LOOK UP for your REDEMPTION cometh."

  • Tea Party Jim

    Poor Jimmy. I'm afraid that when he dies, he will slip and slide down the path paved with good intentions ("Free Palestine!" "Occupy Wall Street") to a destination he will not easily recognize, in spite of all his travels.

    May G-d have mercy on him!

  • Hal Sanders

    James Earl Carter continues to fail the test of relevancy. He's no more relevant now than he was during his failed presidency.

  • Tripp

    Wow, and I bet most of you call yourselves Christians? When tierany comes to the U.S. it will be carrying the cross and draped in the flag. And that's exactly the kind of evil that right wing extreme (certainly not conservative) religious right have done for some of you. Whatever happened to decent men as leaders like Ford, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and yes, Jimmy Carter? Falwell, George W. Bush, and the like have divided and nearly destroyed this great Christian nation. And now Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, and their ilk will use people that inspired this vitriolic hate to finish us off.