Jimmy Carter, Ex-President and Anti-Catholic Bigot, Attacks Pope John Paul II



Bad enough that James Earl Carter, Jr. is the worst president this country has had not named James Buchanan or Barack Obama, but he is also an anti-Catholic bigot as his latest mind droppings amply demonstrate:

Former US President Jimmy Carter has disclosed that he had angry exchanges with Pope John Paul II about liberation theology and about the ordination of women.   

The former president said that he complained to the Pontiff about the Church’s “perpetuation of the subservience of women” while Blessed John Paul II was visiting the US in 1978, and “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology.” Carter said that he classified the Pope as a “fundamentalist,” placing him in that category along with Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini.   

In the same interview Carter said that “it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” although he suggested—“maybe arbitrarily”—that churches should not be required by law to solemnize same-sex unions.   

Carter made his remarks as he introduced a new edition of the Bible with his own study notes, helping readers to follow his understanding of the Scriptures.  

Jimmy, here is a clue for you.  No one cares a rat’s nether regions about what you think about anything.  You were a completely incompetent president and the American people have tried their best to forget you.  You were such a wretched president that even in your own party you are a non-person, and it difficult to embarrass Democrats over anything.  Pope John Paul II was a magnificent pope.  Here is a list of just a few of his accomplishments, although it will take centuries for historians to fully assess his almost 27 year-long papacy, but here are some of the factors that I think they will note.

1.  He largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos-After Vatican II the impulse to transform the Church into an institution fully reflecting the current views of cultural elites in the West wreaked much havoc.  Paul VI, a good and holy man, drew a line in the sand with Humanae Vitae, but he lacked the stomach and the will to fight it out with those who would have transformed the Catholic Church into what the Anglican Church is now:  a dying institution, adrift from any allegiance to traditional Christianity, and fully in accord with the mores and beliefs of the secular elite of the West.  Many were rubbing their hands with glee after the death of Pope Paul, in confident assurance that a new liberal pope would complete the transformation of the Church into something akin to Unitarianism with fancy dress.  Instead they got John Paul II, a Polish fighter who had stood toe to toe with the atheist rulers of Poland and was not the least frightened or impressed by the forces that sought to neuter Christ’s Church.  The chaos and low morale of the Church could not be completely reversed in one papacy, but John Paul II began the process and made a huge amount of progress.

2.  Presiding at the Funeral of Communism-During World War II, both the Nazis and the Communists slaughtered a huge number of Polish priests, viewing them as deadly enemies.  How very right they were!  The Polish Church, in the midst of one of the worst persecutions sustained by the Catholic Church in the last century, never lost faith that the Church and Poland would both ultimately outlast the totalitarian regimes and emerge triumphant.  John Paul II was the embodiment of this robust confidence that Communism, like Nazism, was merely a brief historical aberration that could and would be defeated.  The rise of Solidarity was completely predictable to him, and his embrace of it made a crackdown by the Polish Communist regime, and its Kremlin puppet masters, impossible.  John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in the Eighties brought about the largely peaceful collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and laid the groundwork for its collapse in the former Soviet Union.  The heirs of Joseph Stalin learned to their sorrow that the type of power wielded by a skillful and determined pope cannot be counted in divisions but rather in human hearts.

3.  Culture of Life-In the teeth of an overwhelming movement among Western elites to jettison the belief that human life is sacred, John Paul II rededicated the Church to that proposition and waged a long uphill struggle throughout his papacy against abortion and euthanasia.  Like Moses, John Paul II did not live to see the victory in this fight, but ultimately we will win, and his brave stand at a crucial moment in history will be one of the reasons why.

4.  Pope of the people-With modern means of transportation, a vigorous Pope can treat the whole world as his diocese by globe-trotting and that is precisely what John Paul II did.  In the Nineteenth Century, modern means of communication, the telegraph, photography and newspapers, were skillfully used by Pius IX to forge a personal contact between the Pope and average Catholics.  Pope John Paul II took this a step farther by bringing the Pope to the average Catholic.  A masterful stroke and superbly executed.

5.  Vocations-Pope John Paul II began the process by which the hemorrhaging of priests was stanched and laid the groundwork for the rebound we are now seeing in vocations to the priesthood in most of the Church outside of Europe.  Much needs to be done still, but without the efforts of John Paul II the situation now would be of truly crisis proportions.

6.  Theology of the Body-One of the crises of our time is the alienation between some men and women caused by rapidly changing relationships between the sexes brought on by modern life.  John Paul II addressed this in his Theology of the Body.  Go here for a good overview.  The exalted view of John Paul Ii of the love between man and woman in marriage of course ties in perfectly with his defense of the sanctity of life.  In many ways love was the central theme of the papacy of John Paul II.

7.  Centesimus Annus-With the collapse of Communism, in 1991 John Paul II released Centesimus annus, an overview of the mistakes of Marxism and the challenges that remained in a world where Capitalism now seemed supreme.  Go here to read it.  The most significant two paragraphs:

42. Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

8.  Liberation Theology Rejected-In the Sixties and the Seventies of the last century, elements within the Church engaged in a strong flirtation with Marxism and the idea that the Kingdom of God could be brought about by class struggle and rebellion.  The idea was completely hare-brained, but it attracted quite a following.  John Paul II explained that the liberation that Christianity brought had nothing in common with the power grab the Marxists were seeking.  Go here for resources regarding the statements of John Paul II on Liberation Theology.

This list only touches some of the main features of the papacy of John Paul II, a papacy that will be discussed endlessly as the centuries pass.  In the far future Jimmy, if historians will recall you at all, it will probably be because you were president at the start of the pontificate of John Paul the Great.

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  1. Evangelicals are often accused of being “anti-Catholic”, but the accusation is generally aimed at the more fundamentalist-leaning of the Evangelicals (i.e. the conservative ones, with whom, interestingly enough, Catholics most often find themselves allied on matters of both traditional theology and politics).

    But I can attest that there is no more anti-Catholic Evangelical than the left-leaning Evangelical. They have a disordered view of “liberty” and the so-called “priesthood of the believer” that causes them to have a visceral reaction to ANY authority over individual conscience, be it evangelical fundamentalism or the Catholic Magisterium. They see an ordained priesthood and religious hierarchy, especially that of the Catholic Church, to be fundamentally a threat to liberty of conscience (i.e. their “right” to make up out of whole cloth theological justifications for their personal and political predilictions).

    Jimmy Carter, as a left-leaning Evangelical, has always been a bigot. The only people he despises more than Catholics are Jews.

  2. You just can’t make this stuff up, can you, Don?


    And there’s more!

    Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President by Jimmy Carter

    Gift of Peace: The Jimmy Carter Story by Elizabeth Raum

    How low Zondervan has sunk for the almighty dollar – they are trying to get liberals to buy their wares, but liberals really don’t believe anyways!

  3. Wow, this man sounds seriously deranged. Jimmy Carter certainly came across as a petty and peevish man, but I thought his derangement had more to do with jealousy over R Reagan’s success and his later break with the Baptists over their strong support for Israel. Now it appears that the man was crazy from the beginning. Imagine lecturing JP11 and comparing him to the genocidal maniac Khomeini after having failed to provide succour to the Shah. A man with some decency would have kept his mouth shut after that.

  4. Well, this post is going into the home school curriculum school in my household so that my children will be able to appreciate some of the contributions of JPII’s Papacy. It will also serve nicely to have Carter as a backdrop on how far one go astray from the truth when unhinged from Mater et Magistra.

  5. Two observations.

    The current occupant of the White House is worse: his corruption and ineptitude are destroying us.

    This is reason 665 that you won’t be going to Heaven if you vote democrat.

  6. I see no reason to accept his account of angry exchanges with JP II. The Vatican isn’t that secretive. Much of the substance and almost all of the tenor of discussions between a Pope and other public figures is known within hours. If Carter’s account is to be believed, it was a carefully guarded secret for more than three decades. Not likely says me. Even the timing of the discussions is off… Liberation Theology didn’t get real purchase until the early Eighties. I’m sure the seeds were sown in the Seventies but it hadn’t become an issue while Carter was President. Finally, this is the first time I’ve heard the word “harshness” applied to JP II. We are being asked to believe that a man who actively petitioned to have his would-be assassin released was “harsh” in his assessment of his fellow priest’s misguided but well-intentioned attets to right economic injustice in the Americas.

    Carter is lying. It cannot have happened as he says it did.

  7. Liberation theology was well underway in the seventies; Carter, who was, if nothing else, an avid reader, would likely have known about it. I’d bet that some such conversation did occur between him and the Pope, though he might be “embellishing” it after all these years.

    I can vouch for the fellow-feeling among loyal Catholics and conservative evangelicals; I witness it all the time. Check out the homeschooling movement, for example. Or the pro-life movement. A loyal Catholic and a loyal Baptist have far more in common with one another than either of them has in common with those among their churches who worship the secular god Belial.

  8. I particularly like the eight things the author lists as accomplishments of Pope John Paul II, but in terms of Encyclicals, the Pope’s work was much more noteworthy than was mentioned here. I also think that JPII also had a major positive impact on non-Catholics, including non-Catholic Christians, Jews and Muslims. JPII presented a different image of Catholicism to the world. One of his Encyclicals I like the most is Fides et Ratio, although there were many that could be cited.

  9. With respect Mr. Esolen, an avid reader he is but I doubt that the narrow subject of Liberation Theology was high on his reading list in 1978. Even if it was, I seriously doubt he confronted JP II on anything. That just isn’t how those conversations “go”… Not with Pelosi, not with the Soviets, and not with Mugabe. Are we to believe that Carter was such a forceful personality as to school the Pope on anything? Carter may be so senile he belives his own tales but I don’t believe them.

  10. Carter always was incredibly narcissistic and I while his attempts to project himself as humble, fair, and caring largely failed with most observers, IMO his facade born more out of pathology rather than mere political marketing.

    I agree with those who believe he likely lying or taking great license with many of these statements. However, I can believe he understood the Liberation Theology movement in the 70’s. As president he had to deal with policy matters regarding Latin America and was surely briefed often on happenings there. You simply could not escape any discussion of events and power struggles in Latin America without knowing about the underpinnings behind how some Catholics could justify to themselves being Marxist revolutionaries and why other dictatorial regimes would view those people as enemies.

  11. I think it’s telling that many people refer to the late Pope as “John Paul the Great”,
    but no one has ever seriously suggested that Jimmy Carter bear such a distinction.

    C-Veg’s take on Carter’s account strikes me as the most reasonable– it’s highly unlikely
    such a remarkable exchange could be buried for decades.

  12. G-Veg– I doubt the veracity of this account as well. At the height of the cold war, with Carter essentially surrendering our moral superiority over Marxism, Carter betrayed a strategic ally in the struggle against communism. Carter then saw to the return of Khomeini from his exile in Paris, a move which in a series of tightly related events leading directly to the current state of affairs in Iran. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians, once part of a pluralistic society, have been killed and tortured, and a diaspora ensued.

    In 1978 Carter didn’t see Khomeini as he now claims. He held that judgment for the Shah. As for Catholics, as opposed to leftist who claim the faith, I am sure Carter does and did hold such bigoted views. So, 32 years later, nothing has changed and we once again have another Carter on roids as president.

  13. Cthemfly makes an excellent point above, about Iran. I was an undergraduate at Princeton during the years when Britain and the United States were busy betraying Iran into the hands of the mullahs. One of the stupidest moves the Left ever made was to engineer the ouster of the Shah of Iran in favor of Khomeini, who I believe spent much of his time in exile in France. One Richard Falk, a Princeton leftist and professor of political science, was instrumental in the coup. I don’t hold any brief for the Shah as a good man, but will only note that he had personally bankrolled Britain in the early seventies when that country was broke. In this life you don’t often get to deal with allies who are both saintly and powerful. Carter did well with Sadat and Begin, but flubbed badly with the Soviets and with Iran. Ronald Reagan would not make the same mistakes, for which the Left in America never forgave him.

  14. I can imagine how his Old Testament introduction begins:

    “Bear with me–this part’s pretty Jew-y.”

  15. Professor Esolen,

    Thank you for responding to C-Veg with the facts. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi went into exile on 16th January 1979, in the middle of the following a series of militantly anti-Shah demonstrations the first of which occurred in October 1977, in the middle of the Carter administration. He did not come to the United States until late October 1979, and was allowed into the country to undergo surgical treatment.

    On a related note, as a former enlisted submariner in the U.S. Navy, subsequently commissioned, I would have to rate Mr. McClarey’s assessment of Mr. Carter as a bit on the generous side. Carter repeatedly demonstrated an inability to think beyond a limited set of fixed policies and procedures.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer, LCDR, USN [ret]

  16. Ronald Reagan spoke of the oil off the continental shelf, that is, three miles off the coast, in international waters. Our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, signed the LOST (Law of the Sea Treaty. See Eagle Forum, Heritage Foundation, Obama has signed an Executive Order giving the U.N. the ocean) the LOST treaty with the U.N. giving the United Nations all mineral rights under the sea and imposing a fee for sailing upon the ocean. Who owns the ocean that it is given away to entities not favorable to America? Certainly, the country does not own the ocean that it can “give it away”. All free public lands and waterways are owned by each and every person, in joint and common tenancy, and held in trust for all future generations, our constitutional posterity, our global posterity, by a free people.
    Congress ratifies treaties at the will of the people. These monsters in office need to be exorcised.

  17. One of the stupidest moves the Left ever made was to engineer the ouster of the Shah of Iran in favor of Khomeini, who I believe spent much of his time in exile in France. One Richard Falk, a Princeton leftist and professor of political science, was instrumental in the coup.

    I have to say that is the strangest interpretation of events in Iran over the period running from October 1977 to February 1979 that I have ever heard. The regime suffered a catastrophic loss of confidence in the face of massive public protest. That is not something terribly unprecedented. People in the Shah’s camarilla later accused Mr. Carter’s envoy Gen. Robert Huyser of putting the kibosh on a supposed military coup intended to forestall the fall of the interim ministry the Shah had left in place. Gen. Huyser was career military, not a cat’s paw of ‘the Left’. Richard Falk was producing insipid articles for The Nation and the Institute for Policy Studies. It is difficult to believe he had any influence on anyone but their subscribers.


    The babble about liberation theology is a clue that Carter retrospectively re-imagined his exchanges with the Holy Father.

    What is pathetic about all this is that an old man long steeped in the milieu of Southern protestantism and in the Bible as it is used in that milieu should

    1. Have a habit of using the same prism to view quite disparate phenomena, in fact the same prism a creature like Ellen Goodman might use; and

    2. Have so little in the way of a critical assessment of the inanities of the age.

    With eighty-seven years of living and a grounding in Sacred Scripture, he should be able to offer the young something better than this.

  18. I wrote to Zondervan Publishing about its publishing the Jimmy Carter Study Bible and how I would now boycott their products in the future. I also gave them a link to this blog post. A person at that organization gave me the following response, but did not identify him / herself. I find the lack of personal responsibility very telling. No name. No “Sincerely Yours, XXXXXX Y.” No nothing.

    “As with any public figure, it is to be expected that equally sincere Christians will have different assessments of Jimmy Carter’s presidency and his efforts to promote peace and justice in his post-presidential years. Zondervan respects the fact that, like no other president in recent memory, Jimmy Carter has sought to express in words and live out in deeds his profession of “born-again” Christian faith. It’s for these reasons we are proud to publish these titles. This is fully consistent with our 80-year mission to  publish books by leading voices in the evangelical Christian community, books that glorify Jesus Christ and promote biblical principles.”

  19. Blessed Pope John Paul II or Jimmy Carter, who you gonna call! Bl JP II we love you. If Ford hadn’t pardoned Nixon, a move that history has judged to be the correct decision but which cost him the election, there would have been no Carter presidency. When we’ve been dead ten thousand years the name of Bl, Saint by then, JP II will be praised in litany and prayers of intercession and God will still be granting miracles through his intercession while Jimmy’s only claim to fame will be he is listed as one of the long ago presidents of the late sometimes great United States of America. JP II we love you, JP II we love you.

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