At a summit hosted by the New Baptist Covenant Thursday, former President Jimmy Carter expressed his horror about the state of the nation’s race relations.
According to an Associated Press report, Carter’s words came during his keynote address after a three-day summit in Atlanta that sought to bring black and white Baptist churches together around community issues. He said that he has seen a “resurgence of racism” in communities and asked church leaders to work together for change.
Citing two churches in Macon, Georgia that are a mere block apart, Carter said their congregations are different in race but can come together for the people of the city. Communities have “a very powerful potential weapon to set an example not just among Baptists, not just among churches, but in communities,” Carter said.
He noted that many times white Americans stay silent when they witness discrimination or segregation because they’re afraid to lose their “privileged” position. Doing so amounts to a kind of acceptance of “discrimination and animosity and hatred and division,” he explained.
A life-long Baptist and the founding organizer of the summit in 2007, Carter hoped to keep the event non-political, but couldn’t resist commenting on the election. He admitted he experienced “some degree of embarrassment” about the 2016 presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In what seemed like a reference to Trump, Carter said that the many races, ethnicities and religions from “a beautiful mosaic” for our country and that we’ve always been “resilient” following deep divisions.
“I think there will be a positive reaction after this election,” Carter said. “I pray it will come out a certain way, but I think there will be a lot of lessons learned. And I think the average person in America now will be looking at how to do better things, how to have a superb American policy on peace and human rights and other aspects of life. I think we’ll raise our standards as a public and I believe our next president will accommodate that inclination.”
While Carter didn’t talk about who he was voting for he did admit that all 22 members of his family “all vote the same way.”
“They have inherited some genes or something that causes them to look with favor on the New Baptist Covenant and on one of the parties,” said Carter with a grin. The audience laughed.