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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Presidents and Bible References

A Los Angeles Times article cites a recent academic analysis of President Obama's use of the Bible. It also says: "In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter, a born-again Christian who attended church each week, spoke openly in media interviews about his personal religious convictions. But he was careful to keep references to the Bible out of his public speeches."

That is false. Here is just a sampling of President Carter's Bible references:

  • Here before me is the Bible used in the inauguration of our first President, in 1789, and I have just taken the oath of office on the Bible my mother gave me just a few years ago, opened to a timeless admonition from the ancient prophet Micah: "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." -- Inaugural address, January 20, 1977
  • But when the disciples struggled among themselves for superiority in God's eyes, Jesus said, "Whosoever would be chief among you, let him be His servant." And although we use the phrase, sometimes glibly, "public servant," it's hard for us to translate the concept of a President of the United States into genuine servant. -- Remarks at National Prayer Breakfast, January 27, 1977
  • And I would like to close my comments of welcome to him by quoting from Isaiah, from a Bible which he and I both read, given to us by God, whom we both worship.Isaiah said: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effects of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." -- Remarks welcoming Menachem Begin, July 19, 1977
  • With all the difficulties, all the conflicts, I believe that our planet must finally obey the Biblical injunction to "follow after the things which make for peace." -- Remarks at Southern Legislative Conference, July 21, 1977
  • The Old Testament offers a vision of what that kind of peace might mean in its deepest sense. I leave you with these lines from the Prophet Micah--who's still one of my favorites--lines and words which no summary or paraphrase could possibly do justice. It's from the Fourth Chapter and the first five verses... -- Remarks at World Jewish Congress, November 2, 1977
  • Each of us here tonight—and all who are listening in your homes—must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good. We are a community, a beloved community, all of us. Our individual fates are linked, our futures intertwined. And if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit, together, as the Bible says, we can move mountains. -- State of the Union address, January 19, 1978
  • We learned from the Bible about the fallibilities even of people who were given great responsibility. I remember the story of the escape of the Israelites from Egypt, when Moses was a man anointed by God to lead. And when the Israelites were in a battle, God told Moses, "Hold up your arm." And as long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won. But after an hour or two or three, his arm got weary and it began to sink, and the Israelites began to lose. And his brother, Aaron, went and propped up his arm for a while. And later on Hut propped up Moses' arm for a while, and the Israelites won. -- Remarks at Southern Salute to the President, January 20, 1978
  • There is no nobler calling on this Earth than the seeking for peace. For it is that reason which caused the Bible to say that peacemakers shall be called the sons of God. -- Remarks at departure of Anwar Sadat, February 8, 1978
  • This responsibility is older than our Constitution, older than the Bill of Rights, older even than the tradition of the common law. It comes from the roots of our Western heritage, with the prophet Amos, who said, "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." -- Remarks to LA County Bar Association, May 4,1978
  • The Bible says a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. What has been true of my own land for 3 1/2 centuries is equally true here in Berlin. -- Remarks at Berlin Airlift Memorial, July 15, 1978.
  • The prayers at Camp David were the same as those of the shepherd King David, who prayed in the 85th Psalm, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?... I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and unto his saints: but let them not return again unto folly." And I would like to say, as a Christian, to these two friends of mine, the words of Jesus, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God." -- Address to joint session of Congress, September 18, 1978
  • This comes from the 25th Chapter of Matthew, the words of Jesus talking about a king: "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, unto everlasting fire, prepared for he devil and his angels: For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; I was naked, and ye clothed me not; and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or imprisoned, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away unto everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." -- Remarks at Congressional Black Caucus, September 30, 1978.
  • Last night, in preparation for my introducing the guest performer, I reread the Book of Mark and tried to think ahead about the experience that we had in store for us tonight. It became much more obvious to me than it ever had before that the Bible is not just a spiritual textbook, but it's an excellent and exciting story, a story about Jesus Christ, one of the most exciting stories of all time, which sometimes loses its meaning and its fervor when we take each verse apart and try to analyze or diagram the verse or probe into every single word. -- National Bible Week remarks, November 22, 1978
  • The Prophet Isaiah who wrote about ancient wars between Israel and her neighbors, tells us that the work of righteousness is peace. The United States has tried this year to help other nations find peace. We have succeeded in several troubled areas in getting people to talk to each other and to work out their differences without resorting to violence and to war. -- Remarks on lighting national Christmas tree, December 14, 1978
  • In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, he said, "Since we have hope, we are very bold." And I hope that we believers in God have not lost our hope and will continue to be bold. And later on in the same chapter of Second Corinthians, he says, "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -- National Prayer Breakfast, January 18, 1979.
  • Now I would like to quote from the words of the Old Testament "Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it." And now I would like to quote from the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." -- Remarks in Cairo, March 10, 1979
  • I bring with me the best wishes and the greetings of the people of the United States of America, who share with the people of Israel the love of liberty, of justice, and of peace. And I'm honored to be in Jerusalem, this holy city described by Isaiah as a quiet habitation in which for so many of the human race the cause of brotherhood and peace are enshrined. -- Address to the Knesset, March 12, 1979
  • We in America will find a way to solve our material problems, and as we do, we can rejuvenate the spirit and the confidence of our country. And then may history record that our generation of Americans heeded the words that you have just heard in Isaiah 61—that we brought good tidings to the afflicted, proclaimed liberty to captives and comfort to all who mourn, that we repaired the ruined cities and the desolations of many generations, and that through us the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. -- Remarks at Emory University, August 30, 1979
  • As President, I often think about the story of Moses at Rephaim, which you know very well. The children of Israel were murmuring against Moses, and as soon as he would solve one problem, another one would arise. Then, as you know, Amalek attacked. And while Joshua led Israel's soldiers, Moses stood on a high hill. And under God's direction, as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed, and when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed against them. They fought on all through the day, and Moses' arms grew weary. And then late in the afternoon, Aaron and Hur got stones. And they came, and one stood on each side, and they held up his arms, and Moses' hands were steady until sundown, and the Israelites prevailed. -- Remarks to National Religious Broadcasters, January 21, 1980
  • Isaiah, in Chapter 42 in the Bible, says of a great servant of God, "A bruised reed he will not break; a dimly burning wick he will not quench . . . I have given you, as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations to open the eyes that are blind." -- Remarks on anniversary of Israel-Egypt treaty, March 23, 1980.
  • Moses led the Israeli people out of Egypt to seek freedom, and they were happy and delighted when they crossed the Red Sea and wound up in what they thought was safety. But they wandered for a long time. They didn't reach their destination immediately. They turned against Moses. They began to complain about the manna and the quail and said, "We haven't got the things that we used to have: fruit and fish and wonderful foods." But they forgot about the freedom that they had found, and they forgot about the slavery that they had escaped. But they continued on a long, hard road. -- Remarks at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, May 29, 1980
  • The Democratic Party has always embodied the hope of our people for justice, opportunity, and a better life, and we've worked in every way possible to strengthen the American family, to encourage self-reliance, and to follow the Old Testament admonition: "Defend the poor and the fatherless; give justice to the afflicted and needy." -- Accepting Democratic nomination, August 14, 1980
  • To have modern schools with good facilities, pleasant surroundings, beauty, is very good, and as he struggled with those Depression-year children and welcomed a flood of new residents into the north Fulton County area, his leadership was very significant. He believed in what St. Paul said in First Corinthians 13, in three great things: faith, hope, and love—faith in young people who some day would strive to let their life burgeon forth, to let their minds be stretched, their hearts be expanded to love more people, to learn about God's world. He had faith in them and in their love to do things and to learn things. -- Remarks in Alpharetta, GA, September 15, 1980