Jimmy Carter and the Politics of Faith

  • Jeff Walz
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)


At the bicentennial of its Declaration of Independence in 1976, America was not in a mood for celebration.1 The country was still absorbing the withdrawal from Vietnam, the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, and Watergate and its aftermath. James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, Jr., was both the most unlikely and best suited candidate to establish a new political era in America: “He knew how to present himself as the embodiment of bedrock values, deep concerns, and honest aspirations of millions of his fellow citizens, and he knew, as his detractors did not, that his own quite genuine faith was an asset.”2 Douglas S. Marsh may have put it best in describing “the simple but profound faith of a complex man” whose religion had an indelible but perplexing impact on the presidency.3


Constitutional Amendment Civil Religion Sunday School Parochial School Spiritual Journey 
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  1. 1.
    William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1996), 147.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Jimmy Carter, Living Faith (New York: Times Books, 1996), 16.Google Scholar
  3. David Kucharsky, The Man from Plains: The Mind and Spirit of Jimmy Carter (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. 48.
    Dan Ariail and Cheryl Heckler-Feltz, The Carpenter’s Apprentice: The Spiritual Biography of Jimmy Carter (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 70.Google Scholar
  5. 77.
    Hamilton Jordan, Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency (New York: Putnam’s, 1982), 318, as cited in Barber, The Presidential Character, 435.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mark J. Rozell and Gleaves Whitney 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Walz

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