Jimmy Carter Sunday School

Visitors to Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., where President Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School twice a month, line up Sunday to greet the former head of state. Sunday's lesson included praise for President Trump.

PLAINS, Ga. — As you’d expect, the president played to a packed house.

They came from all over, from upstate New York to Texas, Florida and the red clay country of Georgia. They came from London, Germany, Ontario and Korea. Young and old. Whole families and folks like me, traveling alone. There were young soldiers from nearby Fort Benning and grandmothers shushing restless tots, already tired with a long morning ahead — starting time was 10 a.m., but some folks, anxious to get a good seat, had started lining up at 8 the previous evening. Anyone who didn’t take the president’s cue and arrived more than an hour before daybreak was likely left without a place.

It was hardly a Trump rally. Instead of an arena or convention hall, the venue was a small county Baptist church, a low, modern brick building with little to distinguish it from the hundreds of rural churches that dot the southern countryside.

With one exception. This is the president’s church — President Jimmy Carter, that is.

Three months shy of 95 years old, nursing a brand-new hip to replace the one he broke when he tripped on his way turkey hunting just a few weeks ago, Jimmy Carter is moving a little more slowly these days, but his grin is wide as ever. At least twice a month he still teaches Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church and speaks his truth — about politics and Jesus — to whoever wishes to come.

On Sunday, I was there.

Jimmy Carter Sunday School

Columnist Jerome Christenson, right, poses for a picture with President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

As a good teacher, he got our attention right away. “I agree with President Trump,” he said — then went on to explain.

“I agree with the decision not to take military action against Iran.”

“We’re supposed to be a Christian nation,” he said, “but we’re known throughout the world as the most warlike nation on earth.” He pointed out that of the 242 years since the ratification of the Constitution, for only 16 has America been at peace.

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Christians should presumably prefer peace over war, he said, but it appears the American people prefer war. They appear to believe if we drop bombs on other people as long at the American pilots dropping the bombs return unharmed, the bombing is OK.

“That is why I was gratified by President Trump’s decision not to take military action,” Carter said.

He reminded us that he, his father and his son had all served in the military, and asserted that there is no doubt that America is a superpower, that no one can militarily challenge the United States.

But there is a better way for the United States to be recognized as a superpower, Carter insisted. To be known as the world’s undisputed champion of human rights. “And we have been in the past,” he said, “but we aren’t now.”

“We should be the world’s champion of peace and the custodians of God’s creation.”

He quoted theologian Reinhold Niebuhr: “The duty of government is to establish justice in a sinful world.”

How do we do that? Carter reminded us of the incident from the Last Supper as told in the Gospel of John. Jesus took a towel and basin, got on his knees and, one by one, washed his disciples’ feet. Jesus said he was giving us an example — what he had done we are to do also.

“It’s not easy,” Carter conceded, “especially if it’s someone you don’t particularly like.” But Jesus taught that this kind of servant leadership was the way of God’s Kingdom, “and God’s kingdom on earth would be a great improvement over the situation we are in now,” the president said.

“I want you to remember these things,” he said in closing.

Peace, respect, concern for the downtrodden and despised. Yes, Mr. President, that would make America great again.

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Jerome Christenson is a former reporter, columnist and editor at the Winona Daily News.



(17) comments


“We’re supposed to be a Christian nation,” he said, “but we’re known throughout the world as the most warlike nation on earth.” I suppose that was Carter's sermon in observance of D-Day. That would be during those war years where this "most warlike nation" saved western civilization from Hitler and eastern civilization from Hirohito. Carter is the same simple fool he has always been.


Rick Czeczok Jun 29, 2019 3:39pm Wow you are a bright one. If I was a troll I would hardly use my real name now would I. Now why don't you use your real name, oh that's right you stated you are afraid of your boss, what BS. Now who's the troll here? IDIOT..... Well, that's the first reply you have given in some time for me. And of course it's wrong and nothing but name calling as usual. You really think we believe that's your real name and you were a teacher? That's a laugh. You wanna hear another one ? You have made the claim several times that I am afraid to use my real name because "I'm afraid of my boss". Where in hells name did you come up with that? How about this "Czeczok"? You make good on that claim and I'll leave promising to never come back. If you can't, YOU leave and never come back. How about it phony trolling Czeczok? I'll give you one big clue to help you make your decision... I am the boss you idiot. Now, all of us will await your response. Hopefully you can finally answer a question better than crank and do it fully and honestly for a change.


Czeczok, why not try using your real name? You know you just want everyone else's name that you don't agree with so you can troll, harass and bother other people instead of discussing the issues. It's not our fault you can't do that very well. How long and what did you teach at that place you won't tell us about?

Rick Czeczok

Funny how it's the socialist actavist trolls that are always on here are the only ones upset. Losers HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I think people have caught on to you clowns. Try the next paper to harass good people you have lost this one. But in doing so have also destroyed it, great job done by debunked old buzzards who care only about themselves and their cause. Don't be fooled by socialist, they are out to destroy this great country. They already took the democratic party apart, now on to the country by lies, division, and deceiving people. Funny how history repeats itself. Now if you reply use your real name or I will just consider you someone writing from a prison cell. How else would we know?


Czeczok is a troll and should have gotten his azz booted off here a long time ago.

Rick Czeczok

Wow you are a bright one. If I was a troll I would hardly use my real name now would I. Now why don't you use your real name, oh that's right you stated you are afraid of your boss, what BS. Now who's the troll here? IDIOT.....

Rick Czeczok

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I got the whole slur of socialist activist up in ar. ms on the truth. Typical they don't want to here or remember the truth. Carter was the worst president of the 20th century without question a bumbling fool of a president..... Come on boys bring it on HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!


Zerokok is back to sniffing glue again. Testor"s??? Is it good stuff? That most certainly explains his feeble mindedness. A sure-fire posterboy for Alzheimers , which ain"t exactly funny ,nor is it a joke, nor a laughing matter. For the z-kok ,however.....it"s hilarious.!!!!

Rick Czeczok

Yeah and let's not forget the navy ship he let Iran hold hostage and when he let Casto empty his jails and insane asylums on us. Remember the mess at fort McCoy. He should have stuck to peanut farming. Only you would consider him a great president. As a person he is one of Americas finest, as president he was a pushover for the world and ran the US into 16% inflation period. Try to think before you start patting this guy on the back as a president.


talk about insane asylums ricky boy, you are the poster child for them. So I take it you came from Cuba then. Did I mention anything about his presidency ricky boy? I don't think so. I talked about him as a private citizen. Maybe you should take remedial reading lessons so you comprehend better.


Czeczok, you may be the biggest fool that posts on the Trib site. President Carter didn't "let" Castro empty his jails and insane asylums on us. That would be like saying Reagan did the same thing to escalate the homeless problem in this country. BTW, how old were you then? You apparently didn't remember the fact that Carter succeeded two of the most crooked Presidents this country has ever had. Inflation? Do you remember when the oil shortages STARTED? Richard Nixon predicted it in a speech in the early seventies. Carter inherited another Republican mess much the same way Obama did after the Cheney/Bush fiasco. All Reagan did was triple the deficit by the time he left office. Carter could have done the very same thing... His idea was short term pain for long term gain. THE REAGAN REPUBLICANS are the ones who thought they could spend their way out of the very mess they left behind earlier. Much the same way Trump is doing now. Funny how deficits only matter with a Democrat in the White House. I'm glad you agree that "as a person he in one of America's finest". That's exactly what I look for in people and Presidents! Honest Jimmy. Even you may learn from a person like him who lives his life by example.


Tell us more about the naval vessel held hostage when Carter was president, Ricky. I don't recall it. Tell us how Carter could have stopped Cuba from sending its prisoners and mentally ill into the high seas aimed toward Florida in leaky boats, Ricky? Should he have had them sunk? Should he have ordered the Marines to invade Cuba to guard all prisons and asylums to not allow them to be emptied? Give us a breakdown as you see it of economic trends that were a result of Carter policies that set off the inflationary period, please. I was particularly busy traveling the world during his administration, especially the Third World and some of the worst dictatoorships that had been brutalizing their own people. Carter cut off crucial aid to them until they improved their treatment of their own people, a human rights offensive that he simply is never given credit for. You "think" your president today is superior to Carter? It is evident that you never try to think very hard, Ricky.

Rick Czeczok

I better do more reading, I think you might want to take your own advise on both counts. Coming from a Vietnam draft dodger who made money on that war I would suppose you have a hard time with the truth. Shut up or give your real name otherwise your a coward now just like you were in the 60's with the war. Pathetic human being this one is.....


I agree, Ricky. You better do more reading. It couldn't hurt one bit, and it might even help you. When you find something about that Iranian seizure of one of our naval vessels, get back to the rest of us and straighten us out on our history. Ditto for how Carter could have stopped the Cuban release of prisoners and insane patients to our shores. And the rest of your fascinating account of history that we all lived through and thought we remembered so well until you advised us otherwise.


The U.S. Navy was held by North Korea , dummy. Z-Kok never had U.S. History ? I did not think so.

Rick Czeczok

You of all people talking about history. You smoked the wacky stuff all your way through school and now on to better stuff. So tell us that I'm wrong, go on lie.....


Probably the most sane voice in politics today is Jimmy Carter. A great man and a true Christian, he talks in full sentences, doesn't use vulgar language, doesn't condone racism. I'm sure you right wingers are wondering what is wrong with him. He will be missed once he has passed. Not many sane voices left in this world.

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