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Jimmy Carter Plans Baptist Conference for Unity

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By    |   Tuesday, 24 May 2016 08:57 AM

Former president Jimmy Carter plans to host a meeting in Atlanta with white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Baptists to discuss racial issues. Carter began his efforts on that topic in 2007 as the New Baptist Covenant, and now it is expanding across the U.S., according to the New York Times.

According to the Times, Carter, the 39th U.S. president, pointed to the "heavy racial overtone" of criticism of President Obama and how Donald Trump's campaign for president appeared to have "tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism."

The former president said in the report that racism was not resolved during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, citing high rates of unemployment and incarceration and "combined with the white police attacks on innocent blacks."

Carter, a Democrat, grew up in the town of Plains, Ga., where he was raised a Southern Baptist. He was the first president to declare himself a born-again Christian, according to the Times report.

The former president, 91, promotes human rights and democracy through the Carter Center. In the Times article he said he is feeling well after being treated for liver cancer that had spread to his brain.

Carter criticized Trump's comments calling Mexican immigrants criminals and calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., saying, "When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that is a violation of basic human rights."

When asked about the support of Trump by evangelical Christians, Carter said he believed that the term "evangelical" was being misused by reporters, when they meant "conservative Republicans."

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and a participant in Carter's New Baptist Covenant, said in the Times report that racial issues mixed with Trump's remarks are a "dark time in our national conversation."

Warnock said the Carter meeting is at a pivotal moment, saying, "Those of us who understand that we are better together had better raise our voices, because there are others who are trafficking in theater, in paranoia, and they ply the trade of fear as part of their political craft."

Trump has turned toward voters of faith for fundraising, according to Bloomberg. Christian TV network pastor Mark Burns said that a Trump hand gesture, with his thumb out and pointing to the sky, is a sign of Trump's faith, "giving reverence to the man upstairs."

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Former president Jimmy Carter plans to host a meeting in Atlanta with white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Baptists to discuss racial issues.
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Tuesday, 24 May 2016 08:57 AM
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