CNN Kisses Up to Jimmy Carter and His 'Lessons of Faith'

Former President Jimmy Carter has gotten some love from CNN recently, and he received another warm interview Sunday morning from correspondent Martin Savidge. CNN touted Carter's "lessons of faith" he offered in his new book.

Savidge hailed the book as "inspirational" and told Carter "It's very deep in your faith." Anchor Deborah Feyerick hyped that the former President is "no stranger to writing books" and noted that he's written over two dozen. 

Savidge inquired about Carter's "Sunday school lessons" in the book that he offered during and after his presidency, and referred him to a particular instance when his life was in danger. "Did God save you?" he asked Carter.

"Do you think that as a society we've become too morally permissive?" Savidge asked later, teeing up the former Democratic President to preach against "prominent Christian entities" advocating military action against Iran, in an indirect reference to some Republican presidential candidates.

[Video clip. Click here for audio.]



A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 26 on CNN Sunday Morning at 8:33 a.m. EST, is as follows:

DEBORAH FEYERICK: Former President Jimmy Carter is no stranger to writing books. He's penned more than two dozen of them. His latest: "Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 daily medications from the 39th president." But also mixed in is politics from the presidential office and instances where faith helped President Carter through tough times and hard decisions. He shared his lessons on faith with our Martin Savidge.

(Video Clip)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN correspondent: First of all, Mr. President, thank you very much.

JIMMY CARTER, former President of the United States: It's a pleasure.

SAVIDGE: This is your, what number book?

CARTER: 26th, I think. I've written another one since then.

SAVIDGE: This is definitely a book that interests you. It's an inspirational book. It's very deep in your faith. And it seems to be a book that's not only written for people to read but a book for people to use in their life. And I'm wondering just how you hope people will use it.

CARTER: Well, my hope is that people will take it and maybe read through it first and then maybe put it on their bedside table and read a few pages each night, if they are inclined to do so. It really is – each page is an abbreviation of a 45-minute lecture.

SAVIDGE: These were the Sunday school –

CARTER: Sunday school lessons. Yeah bible lessons.

SAVIDGE: You put the date of the lesson I presume –


SAVIDGE: – at the top of the page. What was the reasoning for doing that?

CARTER: Well, you know the lessons are not arranged chronologically. In fact 14 of the lessons I taught in the First Baptist Church in Washington when I was president. And I just felt like it was worthy if a reader wanted to explore at what point in Jimmy's life did he write this they can look at the actual date to see whether it was 1990 or whether it was in 2010 that I wrote the lesson, and maybe judge by my development for more and more maturity if I got increased wisdom and so forth. Or maybe they wanted to compare it to what they remember from that particular era.

SAVIDGE: There are other instances you mention in the book, life and death ones, especially in the Navy. And there's one you talk about, I believe you're on the deck of a submarine and a wave sweeps you off into the ocean.


SAVIDGE: Did God save you?

CARTER: Well I think there was a skill of my captain that really saved me because in those extremely rough seas I was on the railing of the cutting tower, which is 15 feet above sea level and an enormous wave surprisingly came and picked me up and I floated in the wave and when it came down, I landed on the backside on the stern of the ship.

If we hadn't been precisely on course I would have been swept to the side and my life would have been lost because it was at night, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and by the time they – anybody realized I was gone, it would have been too late.

SAVIDGE: So how do you balance that with your faith, then, it was – it was good fortune? It was –

CARTER: It was good fortune. And I don't have any doubt that God's hand was on it. But I don't attribute it to supernatural causes. I try to – to put it into kind of mundane perspective of a – of an engineer or a navy officer.

SAVIDGE: Do you think that as a society we've become too morally permissive?

CARTER: Well I think so. But that's probably been the case throughout history. And even in the Old Testament and in the New Testament as well – 4,000 – 2,000 years ago, there was a permissive society that displeased deeply religious people including Jesus Christ himself and– and Abraham and Moses and others, as they witnessed the departure from moral values of the people that they led.

So yes, we are perhaps too permissive in our society but I wouldn't say just relating to sexual images and things of that kind. I think we're too permissive in our society in condoning or promoting conflict, war, when we Christians worship the Prince of Peace, not combat. But quite often some of the most prominent Christian entities are the ones that encourage conflict as they are now speaking out openly in favor of maybe taking military action against Iran, for instance.

And – and the other thing – is the departure from justice; the equitable treatment of people regardless of what their status in society might be; their economic status or their educational status or their race. Those are the kind of things that bother me much more than say, the licentiousness of some of the television or movie images that you have.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center