Jimmy Carter is a practicing Baptist and someone who gives a great deal of thought to the meaning of Christian teachings. So when he criticizes the fundamentalist Christian right in his interview in Spiegel, he knows what he's talking about.
We quoted his observations at length in an earlier post on In This Moment.
When Carter says that the fundamentalists believe their ideas are God's ideas, he has put his finger on the real danger they present to our country and the world as a whole: These people won't listen to anyone who doesn't buy their ideas hook, line and sinker. They won't negotiate. They won't compromise.
Hmm. The Christian fundamentalists and the Muslim fundamentalists sure have a lot in common.
But the most brilliant part of the Carter interview is when he explains how Bush is applying that fundamentalist mentality in running the US and conducting our foreign policy. He says:
And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them -- which is also a radical departure from past history.In other words, the go-it-alone, my-way-or-the-highway approach of the Bush administration is yet another example of the negative influence of extremist Christian fundamentalism on this country. The religious right not only work to block the civil rights of gays, to restrict the rights of women, and to perpetuate ignorance in public education, they have also given us a president who refuses to talk with anyone who doesn't buy his distorted view of the world.
And as Carter says:
You never can be certain in advance that negotiations on difficult circumstances will be successful, but you can be certain in advance if you don't negotiate that your problem is going to continue and maybe even get worse.It never hurts to talk. But more than anything else right now, we need a president who is willing to listen.