Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis

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Overview

In Our Endangered Values, Jimmy Carter describes quite personally his own involvement and reactions to some disturbing societal trends that have taken place during the past few years. These changes involve both the religious and the political worlds as they have increasingly become intertwined, and include some of the most crucial and controversial issues of the day - frequently encapsulated under 'moral values'.

Many of these matters are under fierce debate, and include ...

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Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis

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Overview

In Our Endangered Values, Jimmy Carter describes quite personally his own involvement and reactions to some disturbing societal trends that have taken place during the past few years. These changes involve both the religious and the political worlds as they have increasingly become intertwined, and include some of the most crucial and controversial issues of the day - frequently encapsulated under 'moral values'.

Many of these matters are under fierce debate, and include pre-emptive war, women's rights, terrorism, civil liberties, homosexuality, abortion, the death penalty, science and religion, environmental degradation, nuclear arsenals, America's global image, fundamentalism, and the welding of religion and politics. Carter, sustained by his own lifelong faith, assesses these issues in a forceful and unequivocal, but balanced and courageous way. Our Endangered Values is a book that his millions of readers have eagerly awaited.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Former president Jimmy Carter warns that we stand at the edge of an extensive and profound crisis. In recent years, he insists, the radicalism of the fundamentalists has caused vehement divisions throughout our society. "Fortunately," he writes, "this disharmony has not yet become final, as the federal courts, members of Congress, religious leaders, and the general public have not solidified opinions on most of these controversial issues." In Our Endangered Values, he implores Americans to reaffirm our traditional national commitments.
Alan Wolfe
By adding his own voice to the discussion, Carter reminds us of a time when religion was tied to such virtues as humility and to such practices as soul-searching. He may not have been one of our best presidents, but he is undoubtedly one of our finest human beings.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
After several books on spirituality and homespun values (most recently Sharing Good Times), President Carter turns his attention to the political arena. He is gravely concerned by recent trends in conservatism, many of which, he argues, stem from the religious right's openly political agenda. Criticizing Christian fundamentalists for their "rigidity, domination and exclusion," he suggests that their open hostility toward a range of sinners (including homosexuals and the federal judiciary) runs counter to America's legacy of democratic freedom. Carter speaks eloquently of how his own faith has shaped his moral vision and of how he has struggled to reconcile his own values with the Southern Baptist church's transformation under increasingly conservative leadership. He also makes resonant connections between religion and political activism, as when he points out that the Lord's Prayer is a call for "an end to political and economic injustice within worldly regimes." Too much of the book, however, is a scattershot catalogue of standard liberal gripes against the current administration. Throwing in everything from human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib to global warming, Carter spreads himself too thin over talking points that have already been covered extensively. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is a book of reason and tolerance but also of indignation. The former President draws on his religious faith and political experience to comment wisely on a wide range of "hot button" issues. Although Carter's tone is patient and explanatory, his views are bound to be newsworthy and will rekindle some old fires. He is dismayed by the influence of fundamentalism both in religion and in politics; as he observes, "Narrowly defined theological beliefs have been adopted as the rigid agenda of a political party." He further accuses the neoconservatives who guide the Bush administration of having imperialistic goals. Carter writes at length about post-9/11 human rights violations, gun control, nuclear proliferation, the death penalty, the dilution of environmental quality, and the dangers of preemptive war. He passionately encourages women to demand a greater leadership role in the church while candidly discussing his own religious beliefs and struggles with the Baptist Church. However, his most cohesive chapter is concerned with the growing gap between rich and poor, which he calls the greatest challenge facing the world in this new century. This book is an eloquent personal testament that deserves a wide readership, regardless of political affiliation. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The former president shares his personal thoughts, saturated with his religious beliefs, on the moral decline of the U.S. political sphere. What has become of the principles that were thought to guide American political practice, asks Carter? What has become of the ethical notions of peace, economic and social justice, freedom and human rights, a quality environment, the rule of law and global cooperation? Carter (Sharing Good Times, 2004, etc.) traces the rise of thuggish American triumphalism to the ascendancy of special interests, governance through secrecy, fundamentalist influence and the impact of 9/11, when politics lost the nuance of diplomacy and slid into the tinderbox of black-and-white. Though he speaks frankly about his Southern Baptist life-and explains exactly how it influenced his worldview while president, and continues to instruct every step he takes-he is quick to advocate a separation of church and state on the institutional level (even if readers may wonder about his time spent, on the taxpayer's dime, with leaders of Poland, South Korea and China, on what might be considered evangelical matters). Homosexual rights, abortion and the death penalty may always serve as divisive issues, Carter avers, yet he takes issue with the areas where common ground was squandered: fudging or outright abandonment of nuclear non-proliferation; the ham-handed treatment of the Kyoto Protocols and the retreat from landmark legislation dealing with clean air and water, mining, grazing, forestry, toxic wastes and endangered species; the rush to punish rather than rehabilitate the prison population; legalizing the abuse of civil liberties through the Patriot Act; the thirst to engage inpreemptive war; and the pandering to the rich at the expense of the poor. Plenty to nit-pick, but Carter's overarching decency, his care for the human condition and the health of planet Earth shines through.
From the Publisher
"Our Endangered Values cannot be safely ignored."

The Wall Street Journal

"Carter offers an unusual combination: a man of faith and a man of power....By adding his own voice to the discussion, Carter reminds us of a time when religion was tied to such virtues as humility and such practices as soul-searching...he is undoubtedly one of our finest human beings."

— Alan Wolfe, The Washington Post Book World

"The prolific former president writes eloquently about how his faith has shaped his moral vision."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Carter has come to the defense of our national values. We need a voice from the not-so-distant past, and this quiet voice strikes just the right notes."

— Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743553711
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. In 1982, he and his wife founded the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world. Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He is the author of over two-dozen books, including An Hour Before Daylight, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, and Our Endangered Values. He lives in Plains, Georgia.

Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. In 1982, he and his wife founded the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world. Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He is the author of over two-dozen books, including An Hour Before Daylight, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, and Our Endangered Values. He lives in Plains, Georgia.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction: rsr

Americans cherish the greatness of our homeland, but many do not realize how extensive and profound are the transformations that are now taking place in our nation's basic moral values, public discourse, and political philosophy.

Our people have been justifiably proud to see America's power and influence used to preserve peace for ourselves and others, to promote economic and social justice, to raise high the banner of freedom and human rights, to protect the quality of our environment, to alleviate human suffering, to enhance the rule of law, and to cooperate with other peoples to reach these common goals.

With the most diverse and innovative population on earth, we have learned the value of providing our citizens with accurate information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, and accommodating free and open debate on controversial issues. Most of our political leaders have extolled state and local autonomy, attempted to control deficit spending, avoided foreign adventurism, minimized long-term peacekeeping commitments, preserved the separation of church and state, and protected civil liberties and personal privacy.

All of these historic commitments are now being challenged.

Most of the crucial and controversial issues that we confront were debated long before I became president. These controversies are natural, and most are unavoidable. They involve abortion, the death penalty, science versus religion, women's rights, the separation of religion and politics, homosexuality, America's foreign policy and our global image, civil liberties, the threat of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the prevalence of guns, the choice between war and peace, environmental quality, and justice for the poor.

More recent debates over these same issues have caused almost unprecedented divisions within our country, with both Democratic and Republican Parties relying on vituperative commercials to win elections, congressional deliberations increasingly characterized by partisan animosity, and our entire population having adopted "red" and "blue" as habitual descriptive phrases within and between states.

What has aroused these sharp disputes and, at the same time, engendered such profound departures from America's traditional values? One factor is our nation's reaction to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, as we realized the intensity, permanence, and global nature of terrorism. Another change is that massive sums of money are being injected into the political process, with unprecedented influence of special interests within the increasingly secretive deliberations of government.

The most important factor is that fundamentalists have become increasingly influential in both religion and government, and have managed to change the nuances and subtleties of historic debate into black-and-white rigidities and the personal derogation of those who dare to disagree. At the same time, these religious and political conservatives have melded their efforts, bridging the formerly respected separation of church and state. This has empowered a group of influential "neoconservatives," who have been able to implement their long-frustrated philosophy in both domestic and foreign policy.

The influence of these various trends poses a threat to many of our nation's historic customs and moral commitments, both in government and in houses of worship.

Narrowly defined theological beliefs have been adopted as the rigid agenda of a political party. Powerful lobbyists, both inside and outside government, have distorted an admirable American belief in free enterprise into the right of extremely rich citizens to...

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 America's Common Beliefs-and Strong Differences 7
2 My Traditional Christian Faith 16
3 The Rise of Religious Fundamentalism 30
4 Growing Conflicts Among Religious People 36
5 No Conflict Between Science and Religion 47
6 The Entwining of Church and State 53
7 Sins of Divorce and Homosexuality 65
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Jimmy Carter, I Love This Man

    Good read, felt like it was coming from the heart. very refreshing to hear from a politician who seems to care about his beliefs and his country but want to make choices that are good for everyone, not just those who worship as he does...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Presided with True Faith

    Jimmy Carter isn't seen by many people as a good president. I think he was a very good president for everything he had to deal with. There ere those on the right today that are constantly wanting to bring their religious beliefs into government. President Carter knew there had to be a solid wall of separation but that he could allow his faith to be his guide in the many decisions he had to make. The values that this country once had are under sharp attack by many on the right and to a lesser extent even on the left. President Carter brings up the many national and international issues that have been taken over by those that don't have the true concerns of our country in mind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    Lacy

    What?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    Carter

    "......"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Jimmy Carter's political and religious views on debatable issues

    Carter really tries to send a message in this book. He discusses the many fierce issues in our country today, and how many times we don't do anything about it and we've created this crisis. He gives his opinions on each topic, and being a Christian, he has his own opinions on religious issues and the division between church and state. Carter, who is very involved in his religion, has very arguable opinions and he delivers convincing arguments on our "values." I read this book for a CAPP Political Science class, and it wasn't to bad to read. The issues in the book were not boring to read, and I didn't find myself to disappointed with it. I enjoyed reading Carter's reactions to our countries moral crisis, and our values. His opinions are very convincing and his views are hard to disagree with. Being a Christian like Carter, I agreed with most of his religious views and his church and state discussions. Our Endangered Values is a journey the Carter take you on to find what's wrong with our countries values, and what can be done to fix it.

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted December 26, 2009

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    Posted December 14, 2009

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    Posted November 23, 2008

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