Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis

4.1 34
by Jimmy Carter (Narrated by)

See All Formats & Editions

President Carter has written importantly about his spiritual life and faith. In Living Faith, a huge bestseller, he recounted the values and experiences that shaped his personal and political life. In his companion book Sources of Strength, also a bestseller, he meditated on fifty-two of the favorite Bible lessons he has taught.

In Our Endangered


President Carter has written importantly about his spiritual life and faith. In Living Faith, a huge bestseller, he recounted the values and experiences that shaped his personal and political life. In his companion book Sources of Strength, also a bestseller, he meditated on fifty-two of the favorite Bible lessons he has taught.

In Our Endangered Values, Carter offers a personal consideration of "moral values" as they relate to the important issues of the day. He puts forward a passionate defense of separation of church and state, and a strong warning of where the country is heading as the lines between politics and rigid religious fundamentalism are blurred.

Now, he describes his own involvement and reactions to some disturbing societal trends that have taken place during the last 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. They include preemptive 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 melding of religion and politics.

Sustained by his lifelong faith, Jimmy Carter 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.

Editorial Reviews

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

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:

Read an Excerpt

Our Endangered Values

America's Moral Crisis
By Jimmy Carter

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2005 Jimmy Carter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743284577

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 accumulate and retain more and more wealth and pass all of it on to descendants. Profits from stock trading and income from dividends are being given privileged tax status compared to the wages earned by schoolteachers and firemen. To quote a Christian friend, the new economic philosophy in Washington is that a rising tide raises all yachts.

The irresolvable differences of opinion on abortion, homosexuality, and other sensitive social issues have been exacerbated by the insistence of intensely committed hard-liners on imposing their minority views on a more moderate majority.

Our nation has declared independence from the restraints of international organizations and has disavowed many long-standing global agreements, including judicial decisions, nuclear arms accords, controls on biological weapons, environmental protection, the international system of justice, and the humane treatment of prisoners. Even with our troops involved in combat and America facing the threat of additional terrorist attacks, we have neglected alliances with most of the very nations we need to have join us in the long-term fight against global terrorism. All these political actions have been orchestrated by those who believe that the utilization of our nation's tremendous power and influence should not be constrained by foreigners. Regardless of the costs, some leaders are openly striving to create a dominant American empire throughout the world.

Based on these premises, it is no longer considered necessary to observe restraints on attacking other nations militarily, provided often uncertain intelligence sources claim that their military or political policies might eventually be dangerous to the United States. When branded an "axis of evil," they are pariahs no longer acceptable as negotiating partners, and the lives of their people tend to become relatively inconsequential.

Fortunately, these national policies and this disharmony have not yet become permanent, as many members of the general public, legislators, federal judges, Christians, and other believers are still searching for harmonious answers to most of the controversial religious and political questions. It is in America's best interests to understand one another and to find as much common ground as possible.

After a lifetime of involvement in religious and public affairs, I can understand how sincere are those who have promoted these recent changes. I have experienced the intensity of patriotism as a submarine officer, the ambitions of a competitive businessman, and the intensity of political debate. I have been sorely tempted to launch a military attack on foreigners, and have felt the frustration of having to negotiate with allies or even former enemies to reach a consensus instead of taking more decisive unilateral action.

It has been a struggle for me to withstand pressures from cherished constituents in my political decisions as a state senator, governor, and president. Despite what I consider to be a constitutional and biblical requirement for the separation of church and state, I must acknowledge that my own religious beliefs have been inextricably entwined with the political principles I have adopted.

As a private citizen, I will deliberately mix religion and politics in this book. In part of the text I will analyze moral values from a religious point of view, and then include my assessment of the adverse impact of recent political decisions on these same values. I will express my opinions as frankly as possible, as a "born again" evangelical Christian and a former political leader. In the religious realm, I shall depend on the Holy Scriptures, as interpreted by the words and actions of Jesus Christ. On political issues, I shall rely as much as possible on my own personal experiences and observations.

I realize that many readers, even those who share a similar religious and political background, will find some of my opinions to be different from their own. Quite likely, many of them do not realize what is happening in America, and it may be beneficial to raise the issues to the level of increased debate.

Copyright © 2005 by Jimmy Carter

Chapter 1: America's Common Beliefs -- and Strong Differences

The most controversial issues being addressed within our nation will be discussed in the following chapters. It will be helpful to understand the prevailing personal opinions of American citizens, their differences and similarities, how they have been modified or remain the same, and whether they are compatible with the profound political changes taking place in our country.

Stronger and sharper partisan differences have evolved among Americans in recent years, quite a departure from when I was in the White House. In those days, I had a good "batting average" in having my proposals accepted by the Congress, and the political divisions were based much more on issues than on whether members were Democrats or Republicans. As a Southern moderate and former career naval officer, I espoused a conservative fiscal policy and a strong defense. A commitment to human rights came, I guess, from my personal knowledge of the devastating effect of racial segregation in my region of the country.

Soon after arriving in Washington, I was surprised and disappointed when no Democratic member of Congress would sponsor my first series of legislative proposals -- to reorganize parts of the federal bureaucracy -- and I had to get Republicans to take the initiative. Thereafter, my shifting coalitions of support comprised the available members of both parties who agreed with me on specific issues, with my most intense and mounting opposition coming from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. (One reason for this was the ambition of Senator Ted Kennedy to replace me as president.)

Nowadays, the Washington scene is completely different, with almost every issue decided on a strictly partisan basis. Probing public debate on key legislative decisions is almost a thing of the past. Basic agreements are made between lobbyists and legislative leaders, often within closed party caucuses where rigid discipline is paramount. Even personal courtesies, which had been especially cherished in the U.S. Senate, are no longer considered to be sacrosanct. This deterioration in harmony, cooperation, and collegiality in the Congress is, at least in part, a result of the rise of fundamentalist tendencies and their religious and political impact.

Fortunately, this degree of rigidity and confrontation has not yet taken hold among the general public. In preparing this book I have searched for the best assessments of American public opinion, so that I could understand the reasons for, and the extent of, agreements and divisions among our people.

A strong majority of both Democrats and Republicans agree that our country is more politically divided than at any time in living memory, a fact that is partially explained by the doubtful presidential election of 2000 and the almost unchanging split during the following years between "red" and "blue" states. Partisan differences of support and disapproval of our two most recent presidents are quite clear, with the personal popularity of President Bush among Democrats lower than was President Clinton's among Republicans while his impeachment proceedings were under way. The ongoing Iraqi war is especially indicative, with diametrically opposite opinions on whether the conflict is going well or has improved national security.

These sharp disagreements might be written off as just partisan wrangling, but their impact on our nation's present and future international policies is significant. Among Republicans, the percentage endorsing diplomacy in preference to military action is minimal, while Democrats take the opposite point of view. In the approach to combating terrorism, two-thirds of Republicans believe that use of overwhelming force is best, while an even larger proportion of Democrats think that, although our armed forces should be used when our nation's security is threatened, excessive use of military action tends to increase animosity against our country and breed more terrorists. This sharp and growing difference over the issue of whether international disputes can be better resolved by diplomacy or by military action is now the most accurate predictor of party affiliation -- more important than gay marriage, homosexuality, or abortion.

It is encouraging that Americans overwhelmingly agree on several important questions: the value of religion in individual lives, the power of personal initiative to realize human potential, the need to protect the environment even if that is costly, doubt about the integrity of big business, and a desire for federal obscenity laws against hard-core pornography to be enforced vigorously.

Although the number is small, four times as many Republicans as Democrats think that tough environmental laws hurt the economy. There has been a substantial increase in the number of Republicans who have confidence in government, with little difference now between the parties in that regard. Americans also increasingly support more government assistance for the poor and needy, but one remaining difference is that many more Republicans than Democrats believe that poor people have easy lives. It is encouraging that this prejudice against the poor is decreasing significantly among all Americans.

There are strong differences about social issues, but many opinions are changing and most of them have little clear impact in the political arena. The intensity of feeling about controversial issues is often much more important than the numerical divisions. This is especially apparent when the subject of debate is abortion or gun control, where the opinion of a persistent majority of Americans has had little effect in the political world.

A majority of Americans think that abortions should be legal in all or most cases, and only one in six believes that all abortions should be illegal. The fervor and activism of this small minority greatly magnify their influence, especially within the U.S. Congress.

Concerning gun control, an overwhelming majority believe in the right to own weapons, but four of five Americans prefer modest restraints on handguns, including a background check, mandatory registration, and a brief waiting period before one is purchased.

A disturbing change in government policy has involved the firearms industry. Supported by succeeding Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, legislation was passed by Congress in 1994 that for ten years prohibited the manufacture, transfer, and possession of nineteen specific semiautomatic assault weapons, including AK-47s, AR-15s, and UZIs. None of these are used for hunting -- only for killing other humans. More than eleven hundred police chiefs and sheriffs from around the nation called on Congress and President Bush to renew and strengthen the federal assault weapons ban in 2004, but with a wink from the White House, the gun lobby prevailed and the ban expired.

This is not a controversy that involves homeowners, hunters, or outdoorsmen. I have owned and used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own a handgun, four shotguns, and two rifles. I use them carefully, for harvesting game from our woods and fields and during an occasional foray to hunt with my family and friends in other places. We cherish these rights, and some of my companions like to collect rare weapons.

But many of us who participate in outdoor sports are dismayed by some of the more extreme policies of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and by the timidity of public officials who yield to their unreasonable demands. Heavily influenced and supported by the firearms industry, their primary client, the NRA, has been able to mislead many gullible people into believing that our weapons are going to be taken away from us, and that homeowners will be deprived of the right to protect ourselves and our families. There are no real threats to our "right to bear arms," as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If so, the NRA efforts would certainly be justified.

In addition to assault weapons, the gun lobby protects the ability of criminals and gang members to use ammunition that can penetrate protective clothing worn by police officers on duty, and assures that a known or suspected terrorist is not barred from buying or owning a firearm -- including an assault weapon. The only criteria that the NRA has reluctantly accepted are proof of a previous felony, mental derangement, or being an illegal immigrant. Deeply concerned when thirty-five out of forty-four men on the terrorist watch list were able to buy guns during a recent five-month period, the director of the FBI began to reexamine the existing law and asked some U.S. senators to consi-der amendments. The response of top officials in the NRA was to criticize the watch lists -- not the terrorists -- and to announce support for legislation that protects gun manu-facturers and dealers from liability if a buyer uses an AK-47 in a terrorist attack. They also insist that background information on gun buyers be discarded within twenty-four hours, precluding the long-term retention of data that might reveal those who are plotting against our nation's security.

What are the results of this profligate ownership and use of guns designed to kill people? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American children are sixteen times more likely than children in other industrialized nations to be murdered with a gun, eleven times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from firearms accidents.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research reports that the rate of firearm homicide in the United States is nineteen times higher than that of 35 other high-income countries combined. In the most recent year for which data are available, handguns killed 334 people in Australia, 197 in Great Britain, 183 in Sweden, 83 in Japan, 54 in Ireland, 1,034 in Canada, and 30,419 in the United States. The National Rifle Association, the firearms industry, and compliant politicians should reassess their policies concerning safety and accountability.

When asked if they personally believe it is acceptable for gays and lesbians to engage in same-sex behavior, a majority of Americans respond affirmatively, which is a strong shift in opinion since twenty years ago, when responses to the same question were the reverse. There is some indication that this change of public opinion has had an impact among state and federal judges.

The views of Americans have also been changing regarding the death penalty, with support for "life without parole" now at about half and only one-third believing that the death penalty deters crime. In a nationwide poll, only 1 percent of police chiefs thought that expanding the death penalty would reduce crime. This change in public opinion also seems to be having an effect, both in state legislatures and in the federal courts.

These figures paint an overall picture of the beliefs of American citizens, surprisingly unchanged during the past five years. However, revolutionary changes have taken place in our government's domestic and foreign policies, affecting the definition and protection of "moral values."

As an American who has been deeply involved in the political life of our country, I find these statistics to be very interesting. As with almost all other citizens, however, my private life has been the major factor in shaping my own opinions and my personal reactions to the collective views of others.

Copyright © 2005 by Jimmy Carter


Excerpted from Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter Copyright © 2005 by Jimmy Carter.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

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 two-dozen books, including A Full Life; An Hour Before Daylight; Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and Our Endangered Values. He lives in Plains, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Our Endangered Values 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes a look at Jimmy Carter¿s opinions on different sides of the issues that have been going on in the government as well as in society. As a former president, Carter reflects on his past experiences and examples to show what he considers is right. It is a great book that will help provide people with a lot of information about the world we live in along with a man that has his own views on certain topics. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to start to learn more about political issues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Nobelist and former President Jimmy Carter asserts that Christian fundamentalists have taken control of the American government. Although he is a devout Christian himself, he outlines charges against fundamentalists and neoconservatives that reiterate many oft-aired criticisms of the current administration. He also decries fundamentalist control of the Southern Baptist denomination, which may be of less interest to business readers. However, one need not agree with Carter to be drawn by his political philosophy and sincerity, nor disagree to be bruised by his self-righteous tone. This is more sermon than essay, for it has a pronounced religious focus, but we find that it provides a heartfelt portrait of the value judgments of a historic figure who never hesitated to provoke debate. Readers seeking a liberal focus on issues about which conservatives and liberals disagree will find this to be a passionate touchstone, as will those alarmed by what they perceive as manifestations of fundamentalism in U.S. public policy.
Whomever More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book.It's good to see a man with deep religious values like Jimmy Carter, who can apply his religious values to the real world without drifting off into the extreme dogma of fundamentalists.Here's a man who clearly applied his religious values to his decision making without trampling on the constitution and who seemed to understand that there are other people,just as honorable as him, with different views of the world.Too many religious people, especially these days, take a rigid view of the world and don't want to listen to other peoples points of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about America's values and how our country has some defects with it that Jimmy Carter feels need to be changed. He gives evidence to show that the U.S. has been handling some situations and topics poorly, but it should not be too hard to change.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I have always thought that Jimmy Carter was one of the most misunderstood president's or our time. This book proves just that. He is one of the truly great men of out time. I love that he has comes to terms with his religion convictions and his belief in separation of church and state. This is a must read for everyone who wants to meet a man of vision.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to this entire book one Saturday while sewing. It was like having a long visit with older 'common-sense' family members who are no longer here to counsel me. I loved it! He brought back the America I knew and loved. That America is the America in people's hearts and minds where someone's problem becomes our problems An America where we are neither black or white or red or blue but just Americans trying to make the world a better place for all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I am not anywhere near the religious person that President Carter is, I very much enjoyed his keen insight into issues and problems he sees with some of the church groups in this country, and other major problems within our country and with the direction our governmentis going. He is clearly one of our nation's finest thinkers and role models. I highly recommend his book for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carter is one of the wise elders in America. He shows us a way of talking about values that is moral but does not moralize. Values are not against humans but for humans. Just the same, Carter's God is not doing violence to people but is there to build people up, and even respects if people choose not to believe in a God. One can't wage war with such a God, nor can one put people on death row (p. 80). Carter calls for moral values centered around a non-violent God. A timely book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Former President Carter, for whom I voted after I registered to vote, upon turning 18, in 1976, has laid out an excellent example of how the current path America is on (based on so-called 'Christian', 'Family', and 'Moral' values, has led our nation to be divided (within itself) and despised (and that's not too strong a word either) (without-i.e., in the larger world community). His assessment of how this current 'administration' and its supporters, on the far (religious?) right, have made things worse, instead of better, by misapplying Christian principles as justification, for example, in the current mess in Iraq. Fundamentalism, a word which has been hijacked, by the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and others, has been used to justify eroding the separation of church and state. No one doubts that the current 'President'? believes himself to be following Christian principles however, former President Carter, who considers himself just as 'fundamentalist' as anyone else, just as 'Christian', as anyone else, but without the hypocrisy that pervades the current social, moral and political, climate in the United States, makes many valid points on how America has lost it's way, when much of the world, for better or worse, looks to it to lead by example, to provide for others and for ourselves. Of course, Republican conservatives will dismiss this book. The party of Abraham Lincoln has become a mean spirited, name calling, 'holier than everyone else(?)' [who are not like them] political party who are responsible for the current mess in Iraq, and partly for 9/11 as well as the isolation of the United States from the rest of the world. Our nation would do well to listen to the words of the former President, who has been grossly underestimated, [and] who (if he'd been re-elected) might have paved the way for a moral America, without the hypocrisy, that exists currently. God Bless and Help America. And God Bless Jimmy Carter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an important book even if you disagree with some of the conclusions. Carter, like Truman, left office with low approval ratings yet this matters little to the book's content. What Carter has done is to remind us that our policies based on post-911 panic have not served us well. Our national values have been compromised and for the most part unnecessarily. Even after 9-11 few of us would have envisioned the Unites States falling so far as it has with Guantanamo and Abu Ghrib, starting wars against effectively disarmed countries. America has used the terrorism alibi way too long and must start to amend its ways or we run the risk of becoming the world's pariah state.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This, from the President who had the most disfunctional administration in history. At least he exposes who and what he really is about. His answers for the woes of the day are beyond the pale,(surprise, surprise,) and I can find nothing enlightning about this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sobering and courageous assessment of where America's policies and priorities seem to be at this time. I found President Carter's proposals on a variety of issues neither 'liberal' or 'conservative', but rather common sense. The apathy that has allowed the fundamentalists to push their agenda is pervasive and must come to an end. Hopefully, Carter's integrity and conviction for truth, justice, humility, compassion, forgiveness, and love will serve as an inspiration for Christians and non-Christians alike. This is a must read and a wake-up call for all Americans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
President Carter provides a thought provoking look at many areas concerning our current government and society. From foreign policy to hot button social issues, Carter provides insight on where we have been misled, where we are still united (no matter who tells us we are not), and how we can regain trust from others that we have turned our backs on. President Carter combines his experience in the political arena with home grown traditional religious values to highlight 'Our Endangered Values' and provides us hope that it is not too late to repair the damage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'What enables ex-President Jimmy Carter to be taken seriously is that millions of people are too young to remember what a disaster the Carter administration was. He lost his bid for re-election in a landslide for a reason.' -Thomas Sowell
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book! It gives an incredible insight into current events. Even though I don't share the former presidents views (mostly about the right to choose), I deeply respect his ability to balance his religious beliefs and his respect for the constitution. I have always been interested in political affairs, but am now able to understand the importance of foreign policy. Anyone that wants to know why the United States of America has lost respect around the globe, needs to read this book. Anyone who doesn't vote, needs to read this book. I was born and raised in Germany and have a daughter who is now 21. It occurred to me that I have never heard her and her friends engage in a conversation based on political events! I remember those being a frequent topic for me since I was 14 or 15! My interest in current affairs didn't come from my family. It was inspired (but not shaped!) in school. There is something seriously lacking in the public school system. If other countries can do it, why not the USA? During the first couple of chapters I was a little thrown off by his use of big words, but decided to take it as a challenge (as a foreigner) to learn a few more words. I can't say enough about this book! It has been inspiring and motivating. I hope a lot of readers will find this book, especially the citizens that are going to the polls next time around!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an insightful and informative read. Carter covered the most important issues that our country is facing with the heart of a Christian, the passion of a patriot and the mind of an intellectual. I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Consider this book as President Carter's sincere warning letter to America. He clearly points out how this current adminstration has dramatically and systematically undone America. America's good standing is no longer, the Nation is divided, the growing number of poor thanks to massive tax cuts for the rich while keeping minimum wage at an almost standstill. President Carter speaks candidly about his faith and how, as an Evangelical, this administration's actions and the rise of fundamentalist Protestants counter the basic moral principles set forth by Jesus Christ. What scariest about these times is how anyone who speaks up with A VOICE OF REASON and FACTS against this administration (and Bullies like Pat Robertson or Christian Coalition) is sure to be attacked, derided, boycotted, discredited and maligned as un-American and Godless. Thank you President Carter, I respect and admire you. Please know that you are a truly outstanding American and person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Carter¿s book is deep analyzes of the moral and ethical codes of the USA. This book mirrors the knowledge of Mr. Carter of the moral conflicts of our country. He accomplishes altitude that no other former President has reached. He is intelligent to poise his political thoughts with a clever storybook style that reflects his Southern milieu. The book is educational, consistently inspiring, and motivating. I recommend his book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one is PRO-Abortion. Let me guess...you are a man. If men were the ones who had the babies, trust me, women would have absolutely no say in this issue. How dare any man have the arrogance to try to tell a woman what to do when he could never find himself in the position to make that difficult a choice. How easy it must be for you to say you know for sure exactly what you would do. You have no idea and never will have any idea. President Carter must understand that very simple point. This is between a WOMAN and her God. Period. If this right is ever taken away from women we need to figure out a way for it to affect the man who got her pregnant. How about sterilization for him. How does that sound?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Carter, the most prolific of former commanders-in-chief, has come out with his twentieth book and surprisingly the first that is overtly political. While the book is an incisive and decidedly critical look at Bush's foreign and domestic policies, it also reflects the mass of contradictions that Carter has represented as both a political leader and a man of faith. His commitment to human rights informed his presidency, but his limited abilities in campaigning and governing reflected a certain naïveté about public policy implementation. Carter takes full aim at the fundamentalists. Fundamentalism, Carter writes, has three attributes: 'rigidity, domination, and exclusion'. He explains that the rigor by which Bush has courted the religious right has induced a domino effect of pain points for the country - tax cuts for the wealthy, proposed spending cuts to social programs, utter disrespect for human rights, cruelty toward prisoners in Iraq, a despoiled environment and an imperialistic foreign policy. These are the indicators of how far the US has fallen, in particular, becoming a pariah in many countries. Once a moral beacon to the world, the US, according to Carter, has fallen in its global standing due to the influence wielded by fundamentalists over our policies. Carter's perspective comes from being a devout Southern Baptist, a faith that has been adamant about the separation of church and state. Consequently, he derides the unprecedented historic merging of church and state under President Bush, as he provides valid reasons to distrust religious hierarchies and respect the autonomy of local congregations. There is no question that Carter is a religious man who believes Bush's Christian faith but not to the extent of informing government policy. Fundamentalism has gotten this country into a mess, but he sincerely feels religion can once again help the nation finds its soul. Granted, there are times when Carter treats the reader like a Sunday school student, but he is overly cautious when he moves back to the political when examining the details of Bush's policies. This is where the book falls a bit short as he skirts around more secular issues such as the environment or counterterrorism as if he is running for office again. Probably out of respect for the office he once held, Carter seems reluctant to point a finger at Bush, and to some extent, I admire his restraint. However, a dispassionate tone surfaces periodically, and Carter's voice without prophetic urgency has a tendency to sound more like wonk-speak than a man propelled by the power of the Bible. Bush is not the only one he puts to task, as he also expresses hesitation about his own party as well. He states emphatically that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry failed to connect with deeply religious voters by appealing to their sense of logic and overemphasizing controversial topics like abortion rights. At 81, Carter is showing himself to be far more of a renaissance man now since he left the Oval Office a quarter century ago. This book illustrates how the distance of twenty-five years lends his perspective a resonance that none of the anti-Bush brigade could muster. This is a highly recommended read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Former President Carter was recently asked why he was breaking the tradition of prior Presidents not criticizing a current one - his response was that 'Our Endangered Values' is not a personal criticism of President Bush, but of his reversal of policies established back to Eisenhower and including those of Bush I. Carter than goes on to summarize the major source of today's moral problems, and a number of adverse results from these declining values. Ironically, Carter (a life-long deeply religious man) identifies fundamentalism among Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Islamists as the major source of today's moral problems. Those involved are convinced that 'since I am aligned with God, I am superior and my beliefs should prevail. Others are wrong and inherently inferior,' thus setting the basis for conflict. Such groups are generally led by authoritarian males who consider themselves superior, are committed to subjugating women, and demagogue emotional issues. Examples within the U.S. include the Southern Baptist Conference's establishing its leaders as the 'sole authority over faith and practice' in 2002, Pat Robertson arguing that the separation between church and state is a 'lie of the left,' Jerry Falwell and Robertson stating that 9/11 was partly in response to pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, and lesbians, and former Sentator Danforth (also an Episcopal priest) stating that the Senate now spends more time worrying on the effect of gays on marriage than the effect of the deficit. Injurious results include the U.S.' ludicrous and counterproductive fixation on Cuba, rejection of any reasonable basis for an International Criminal Court (U.S. wants BLANKET immunity for itself and Americans), the breakdown in progress with North Korea (per U.S. accusations and hardline posture), prolonging and acerbating Arab-Israeli relations - particularly via approving expansion of Israeli settlements (some fundamentalists hope this will result in major war and the return of the Messiah regardless, it has scuttled the 'road to peace), unwarranted jailing of a majority of those held in the war on terror - and especially their torture, violating the nuclear proliferation treaty (encouraged Russia and China to upgrade their arms and rethink positions on 'no first-use'), our pre-emptive war on Iraq (giving Iran, North Korea and others justification for nuclear weapons programs), and a failrue to push energy conservation (ANWR drilling is a mirage of a solution). Carter believes that the greatest concern of the new millenium is that growing gap between rich and poor. Diseases and malnutrition in developing countries are obvious issues, aided by skimpy U.S. aid compared to others, and perhaps due to our large war/defense expenses. (Some claim that recent American support for 2004 tsunami victims 'proves' our generosity - Carter simply points out that many more die each month due to malaria, AIDS, etc.) Similarly, cuts in U.S. support for American poor also evokes Carter's concern. (In the case of 'farm aid,' Carter points out that half goes to the top 3% of U.S. farmers - like Bush's tax cuts.) President Carter ends by pointing out that superpower status does not just come from military power - a commitment to truth, justice, peace, freedom, humility, human rights, generosity, and cooperation are also needed and would revive the faith and historic values of our past 230 years. Its amazing (and scary) how much has been undone in the past five years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Carter was a marginally unimpressive president when he was in office, he only became a noteable humanitarian after his service was up. This book brings up lots of interesting and pressing issues confronting our country today the war on terror, abortion, the death penalty, income disparity. It peaks your interest but does little else since it briefly glosses over them, never spending more than 15 pages on any one topic. It's kind of a tease and you would be better off reading two or three books which focus on one of the specific issues. It is well written and surprisingly moderate and might be enjoyed if you want a brief overview of the moral problems in America today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an evangelical young adult I am so grateful that President Carter is speaking up for our moral values at this dark time. The success of this book is more evidence that a real movement is arising in America within all churches, evangelical, Protestant and Catholic that is challenging fundamentalism, violence, materialism and awakening America to a deeper Christian journey. A path with Jesus that values all people as made in God's image, that appreciates the gift of reason, and celebrates creativity. Thank you for your humble, faithful leadership President Carter!