By J. Brooks Flippen
As Jimmy Carter ascended to the presidency the inheritor obvious to Democratic liberalism, he touted his history as a born-again evangelical. as soon as in place of work, his religion certainly helped shape coverage on a couple of debatable ethical matters. via acknowledging yes behaviors as sinful whereas insisting that they have been deepest issues past executive interference, J. Brooks Flippen argues, Carter accidentally alienated either social liberals and conservative Christians, therefore making sure that the talk over those ethical “family concerns” received a brand new prominence in public and political life.
The Carter period, in keeping with Flippen, stood at a fault line in American tradition, faith, and politics. within the wake of the Sixties, a few americans nervous that the conventional kinfolk confronted a grave difficulty. This newly politicized constituency seen secular humanism in schooling, the popularity of reproductive rights proven by means of Roe v. Wade, feminism, and the fight for gay rights as facts of cultural decay and as a problem to spiritual orthodoxy. Social liberals seen Carter’s religion with skepticism and took factor along with his seeming unwillingness to construct on contemporary revolutionary victories. eventually, Flippen argues, conservative Christians emerged because the spiritual correct and have been followed into the Republican fold.
Examining Carter’s fight to placate competing pursuits opposed to the backdrop of inauspicious overseas and household issues―a suffering economic climate, the stalled Strategic palms hindrance Talks, disputes within the heart East, handover of the Panama Canal, and the Iranian hostage crisis―Flippen indicates how a political dynamic was once shaped that maintains to this day.
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Extra resources for Jimmy Carter, the Politics of Family, and the Rise of the Religious Right
Debate soon centered on the addition of the so-called Wiggins amendment. ” Obviously open-ended, it too could easily emasculate the era’s intent. The final version was relatively simple: equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The law was clear, perhaps, but, as its advocates well knew, it was still controversial. As a proposed amendment to the Constitution, it needed thirty-eight states to ratify it by March 1979.
Accepting the imperfectability of human beings in a sinful world, Carter saw his mission to serve as an example for others. This meant, of course, that while he recognized that he might not attain all he sought politically, it was important for him to demonstrate pure motives. He could not be just another politician operating out of electoral self-interest. His actions had to be worthy of emulation. As Carter launched his political career, his longtime friend Charles Kirbo was blunt about Carter’s intentions and the limitations they might pose for his career.
Carter had many critics, but by the mid-1970s he had established himself as a formidable politician, his disdain for the inevitable nature of elected representatives aside. He was known for his honesty and his strong Christian ideals, and he was perceived as a man who understood the importance of family. He had an acceptable record as governor and an obviously large and loving brood, Amy still a cute preteen living at home. He was not known nationally, but it was enough for Carter and his allies to begin to entertain the thought of higher office.