President Carter on Women's Rights

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is now the author of A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power, about gender equality around the world. He'll discuss his push for women's rights and some of today's headlines.


President Jimmy Carter

Comments [56]

NYCitizen from NYC

It is a SHAME that Brian didn't ask Carter about ABORTION because

I think that WNYC listeners would be very interested to learn that

the former President is ANTI-CHOICE !!!!

Apr. 26 2014 02:20 PM
Philip Bennett from Brooklyn, NY

President Carter helped kill the Equal Rights Amendment by hardly doing a damn thing to get it through the states for ratification other than lip-service. Then there's his firing of Bella Abzug as an adviser for linking women's rights to the economy. Then in 1980, during a Sunday school class, he stated "I believe women have gone as far as they ought to now." And now he's written a book on women's rights? Pardon me for being a little more than bitter!

Mar. 27 2014 10:04 PM
Paula B from Chappaqua

I wanted to ask President Carter why doesn't morality trump religion? Is it only Christians following the teachings of Jesus Christ that make human rights possible? What about those of us who do not follow the teachings of Jesus, but believe in "doing unto others as you would have others do unto you" and kindness, love and all human and animal rights? Do those not count? You make it very clear that your morality comes from one source and that is not only narrow and exclusive but bigoted. You have always seemed to me to be very self-righteous, holier than thou, and consider yourself saintly.While you do good works, for sure, what's in your heart is unknown and, to me, questionable.

Mar. 26 2014 05:20 PM

The Reagan Administration and Tip O'Neil and the Congress betrayed 241 Marines that were killed by Hezbollah and Iran on October 23, 1983 in the Lebanon Barracks Bombing by not immediately declaring war against Iran. Rather than declare war against Iran, weapons were subsequently sold to Iran using the money for the Contras in Central America. This was outrageous! It would be like selling weapons to Japan after Pearl Harbor. Osama Bin Laden stated that the Lebanon Barracks Bombing was their greatest victory. Also the US subsequently took out Iraq the enemy of Iran. The Lebanon Barracks Bombing has been ignored and its 30th anniversary (10-23-13) has come with little fanfare. It lead to Bin Laden stating that the US was a paper tiger that would withdraw when attacked and led to subsequent attacks including the 911 Attacks. The fact that 241 Marines can die for their country and continually be ignored by the US is a sin!

Mar. 26 2014 02:36 PM
NYC from NYC

It is very telling that the most prevalent comments on here are IGNORING the actual topic: women's rights.

Mar. 26 2014 01:56 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


Any details on that deal?

What was exchanged?
Why haven't the iranians told the world of the details of the deal?
Are the iranians still colluding with Reagan after all these years?

The iranians made carter look like a FOOL - and for that, carter hates not iran, but America - and that is why carter embraces every socialist dictator.

Mar. 26 2014 11:59 AM

@Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

"I always wondered what jimmy carter thought when the American hostages of the islamist regime of iran were released, within minutes of the swearing in of President Ronald Reagan?"

I can tell you what I thought then and still think. "The damned GOP made a deal to hold the hostages past the election through to Inauguration Day merely for the optics. Treasonous sons of bitches."

Mar. 26 2014 10:18 AM

excerpts from Carter's Law Day speech 1974:

"We had an ethics bill in the state legislature this year. Half of it passed - to require an accounting for contributions during a campaign - but the part that applied to people after the campaign failed. We couldn't get through the requirement for revelation of payments to officeholders after they are in office. The largest force against that ethics bill was the lawyers.

Some of you here tried to get a consumer protection package passed without success.

The regulatory agencies in Washington are made up, not of people to regulate industries, but of representatives of the industries that are regulated. Is that fair and right an equitable? I don't think so.

I'm only going to serve 4 years as governor, as you know. I think that's enough. I enjoy it, but I think I've done all I can in the governor's office. I see the lobbyists in the state capital filling the halls on occasions. Good people, competent people, the most pleasant, personable, extroverted citizens of Georgia. Those are the characteristics that are required for a lobbyist. They represent good folks, But I can tell you that when a lobbyist goes to represent the Peanut Warehouseman's Association of the Southeast, which I belong to, they go there to represent the peanut warehouseman. They don't go there to represent the customers of the peanut warehouseman….

The point of (Tolstoy's "War & Peace") is that the course of human events, even the greatest historical events, are not determined by the leaders of a nation or a state, like Presidents or governors or senators. They are controlled by the combined wisdom and courage and commitment and discernment and unselfishness and compassion and love and idealism of the common ordinary people. If that was true in the case of Russia where they had a czar or France where they had an emperor, how much more true is it in our own case where the Constitution charges us with a direct responsibility for determining what our government is and ought to be?

Well, I've read parts of the embarrassing transcripts, and I've seen the proud statement of a former attorney general, who protected his boss, and now brags on the fact that he tiptoed through a mine field and came out "clean." I can't imagine somebody like Thomas Jefferson tiptoeing through a mine field on the technicalities of the law, and then bragging about being clean afterwards.

I think our people demand more than that. I believe that everyone in this room who is in a position of responsibility as a preserver of the law in its purest form ought to remember the oath that Thomas Jefferson and others took when they practically signed their own death warrant, writing the Declaration of Independence - to preserve justice and equity and freedom and fairness, they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."

Mar. 26 2014 12:06 AM

It comes as no surprise to see all the piddling RW fascist trolls to come out of their dark holes to try to gnaw at the feet of Jimmy Carter.

To these mental midgets, Reagen, a corporate shilll, B-level Hollywood actor, who threw the doors wide open in a presidency that basically said "open for business to the highest bidder" and then hid the corporate plunderers behind his big, false modesty smile executing seamlessly and shamelessly the company-man duties he executed for GE again for the Corporate State-at large, is to be exalted instead. It's astounding these rats can even make it out, having gorged to obesity on so much RW propaganda cheese for so long.

It's a real shame that Carter doesn't yet have his rightful place as a great man and humanitarian in the eyes of the American public. He'll probably have that abroad before he does here. Carter was/is a fearsome fighter for justice and equality, a defender of civil rights and an outspoken critic of institutional corruption and malfeasance.
In short, he was the real man to Reagen's phony everyman scam. Carter's well-roundedness, candid honesty and searing quest for truth tower over his successor's blight.

To wit, here's an excerpt from Carter's incredible, improvised Law Day speech of 1974 he gave to a group of the most powerful lawyers in the State of Georgia:

"My own interest in the criminal justice system is very deep and heartfelt. Not having studied law, I've had to learn the hard way. I read a lot and listen a lot. One of the sources for my understanding about the proper application of criminal justice and the system of equity is from reading Reinhold Niebuhr... The other from a friend of mine, a poet named Bob Dylan. After listening to his records about "The Ballad of Hattie Carol" and "Like a Rolling Stone" and "The Times, They Are a-Changing," I've learned to appreciate the dynamism of change in a modern society.

I grew up as a landowner's son. But I don't think I ever realized the proper interrelationship between the landowner and those who worked on a farm until I heard Dylan's record, "I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More.."

The first speech I ever made...was concerning the abolition of 30 questions that we had so proudly evolved as a subterfuge to keep black citizens from voting and which we used with a great deal of smirking and pride for decades or generations ever since the War Between the States - questions that nobody could answer in this room, but which were applied to every black citizen that came to the Sumter County Courthouse or Webster County Courthouse and said, "I want to vote."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was perhaps despised by many in this room because he shook up our social structure that benefited us, and demanded simply that black citizens be treated the same as white citizens, wasn't greeted with approbation and accolades by (you). He was greeted with horror...

Mar. 25 2014 11:57 PM
james from Brooklyn

In a conversation about the "most serious and unaddressed problem in the world," Brian says that there are Orthodox, Jewish practices
"that are sexist and cause harm to women and girls".
Question to Brian: What are these Orthodox, Jewish practices that warrant being mentioned side by side to female genital mutilation and female infanticide?

Mar. 25 2014 11:12 PM


The only thing Obama and I hate more than Israel is....CHUZZLEWIT!

Mar. 25 2014 08:49 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Mar. 25 2014 08:38 PM
DTorres from Manhattan

Very nice to hear former President Jimmy Carter.
Learned a great deal from Carter's book
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
I wish President Carter had made sure that
the murderers of the Maryknoll missionary sisters,
had been brought to justice in an American courtroom.

I have great respect for former President Carter, because
of all he has done to help so many people both here in the U.S.
and abroad.
President Carter has also used his influence to focus attention
on forgotten people, like the Palestinian people. He has really laid out,
exactly what is going on in that part of the world and our role in it.

Mar. 25 2014 06:53 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

The level of my discourse is brilliant. I am not a real person tho, so my comments are not relevant. LOL.

Mar. 25 2014 04:00 PM

AM -- your problem seems to be that I don't agree with you. Brian's show isn't supposed to be another ClusterF. A variety of voices are helpful to the show, and especially when a host may be in danger of swooning onto the floor, due to proximity to power. For Extra Credit Google "Jimmy Carter" and Taliban.

Mar. 25 2014 12:45 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Rolling Stones will be performing in Israel?

The boom you heard was the sound of roger waters head exploding.

Mar. 25 2014 12:09 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"It's official: Rolling Stones to play Tel Aviv in June" (YNET NEWS)

Bravo, Mick !!!

(Take THAT, Jimma')

Mar. 25 2014 11:55 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I always wondered what jimmy carter thought when the American hostages of the islamist regime of iran were released, within minutes of the swearing in of President Ronald Reagan?

Mar. 25 2014 11:54 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

jimmy carter,


Why? He embraces every anti-American dictator.

From Fidel to Hugo to Arafat.

And he was a One-Term President because the voters rejected him.

Mar. 25 2014 11:40 AM

And by consequences -- I refer to irritated comments on public radio message boards. Anyway, if you are interested in considering what turns people into critics when it comes to Jimmy Carter, just look it up.)

Mar. 25 2014 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sue in Harlem

I am against babies being killed both in the womb or outside the womb. In fact, I think that babies should be made in factories as soon as this becomes technically possible so that nobody "owns" anybody and nobody "belongs" to anybody, and the concept of "family" no longer exists. As in the 1932 sci-fi novel "Brave New World."

Mar. 25 2014 11:29 AM

superf88, stop gratuitously attacking me and others. Yeah, it's true that when a majority, self-selected or otherwise, has a given view, that view should dominate. At any rate, this was about the way you TREATED OTHERS in expressing those STILL UNSUPPORTED views. Also, there seems to be a problem in logic here--you appear to be crediting Carter with creating "consequences" in the form of "critics." ("Carter made his choices and he must live with the consequences, among whom are included very reasonable and informed critics."). At any rate, a reasonable criticism would indicate what the promulgator's "informed-ness" consists in. And of course here again you bizarrely treated another person's cognitive/emotional purview as your own when you ("whatwittedly"?) direct me to "let it go." Your posts here are a good demonstration of the consequences of being unreasonable and misinformed.

Mar. 25 2014 11:25 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Weird/oddly inappropriate-sounding to hear Pres Carter refer to a brothel as a "whore house."
And the UFO sighting!
It's been quite an entertaining listen this morning.

Mar. 25 2014 11:17 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Prostitution should be legal, as in Israel, but pimping should be illegal as in Israel. There is nothing wrong with prostitution as long there are no "masters" or pimps over them. It is one way for women to make a living without a man ruling over them if pimping is strictly illegal. It is also a good way for some men and women to have sex without being lured into marriage, which is usually a trap for men.

Mar. 25 2014 11:16 AM
Nick from UWS

This is not President Carter's first Barnes & Noble signing. He signed my copy of Talking Peace back in 1993 at the 82nd St Barnes & Noble.

Mar. 25 2014 11:14 AM

Don't understand your reply, anyway the majority of commenters I see seem to share your view.

I'm sure Carter can handle his critics emotionally so either take my advice (and get a more complete picture of Carter) or just let it go.

Carter made his choices and he must live with the consequences, among whom are included very reasonable and informed critics.

Mar. 25 2014 11:14 AM
tom from astoria

The night President Carter was elected, I stayed up all night to hear the result at around 4 AM, we had waist deep fresh snow in East Aurora, NY in the Snow Belt south of Buffalo. In high school then, I still admire him. Since then Ive become an artist and would like to paint his portrait.

Mar. 25 2014 11:14 AM
Sue from Harlem

So, jgarbuz from Queens, you're OK with parents killing girl-babies so they can raise a male child instead, and butchering adolescent girls ("genital cutting") leading to lifelong pain and health problems -- you're OK with that? You're OK with the international sex slave trade? And OK with women all over the world being denied education and economic opportunity?

I'm sorry, but your position is moronic.

Mar. 25 2014 11:13 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Haha JG, so - that evens everything out then? BTW, a man can also hire a surrogate to have his child as well.

Mar. 25 2014 11:08 AM

Superf88, You can't apologize for another person's feelings or state of mind. Non-apology apologies are part and parcel with the refusal to take responsibility that's inherent in attacking and belittling others while promulgating bigoted (yes) and unsupported opinions.

Mar. 25 2014 11:06 AM
Linda from Tudor City

He funded and armed the "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan??? Those are today's Taliban, amazing no one points that out!

Mar. 25 2014 11:06 AM

Looking back...How big an eff-up were the losses of the 2010 election? Who (in your opinion) bears the largest responsibility for that rout?

Looking forward...Citizens United...undisclosed money in elections (501's)...Ballot access rollbacks...gerrymandered districts...or some other issue...What do you feel is the greatest impediment to increased democracy for the nation's citizens?

Thank you for your efforts as President. I wish that our economics of the late 1970's had been more favorable for your term as President.

Mar. 25 2014 11:06 AM
Tucker Ranson from Manhattan

I just want to say how much I admire President Carter. He is the only former President I would want to meet or can imagine sitting down and talking with.

Thank you, Mr. Jimmy.

Mar. 25 2014 11:05 AM
Penny from Downtown

Please ask President Carter what he thinks about women's work in the U.S. versus emerging economies. I'm from a Southern small-farm family similar to his, and the total physical helplessness of Americans these days seems to be our downfall. No one wants women to carry water the whole day, but no physical work at all seems no better.

Mar. 25 2014 11:04 AM

I respect President Carter for calling out his own religion for its flaws, rather than dumping on others'. Most Western religions in practice oppress women. It's honorable in President Carter to shine a light on the bigotry in his own house.

He and President Clinton are using their power and privilege to try and make the world better. Compares very positively with the Republican former presidents, who seem to be spending their time on golf and doodling.

Mar. 25 2014 11:02 AM
John A

I am no baptist, but I love this religious liberal. How 'bout an intelligent religious conservative leader? I expect no results in the near term, but I'm still looking.
'I'm not aware of a place in the bible where it says to cut taxes on the rich' -J.Carter (paraphrased, about 2009)

Mar. 25 2014 11:01 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

I can't get through on the phone so I'm asking my question here:

I have many Jewish friends who believe President Carter is anti-Semitic. Can he address this question?

Mar. 25 2014 11:01 AM
Sue from Harlem

Changing churches because they're sexist is a good start, but they all still think that God, the fount of all life, is a "He" -- what a laugh. When I heard that, as a 5 or 6 year old, I checked out of religion altogether because, yeah right the giver of life is male. I don't think so!

Mar. 25 2014 11:01 AM
BC Armstrong from Flushing

I don't suppose there's any chance in hell that Mr. Lehrer will ask our pious ex-president how his alleged faith squares with his support of Lt. William Calley, and how his alleged belief in human rights accords with Calley's murder of over 100 men, women and children at My Lai in 1968.

Mar. 25 2014 11:01 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Mr. Carter has become quite an odd liberal religious nut in his advancing age.

Mar. 25 2014 10:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

What is it with this "women's rights" business already? Women live longer than men. Women can have children without men. Men cannot have children without women. Very few women get killed in war compared to men. Women have the right to abort a man's child without consultation. It's men today who are behind the 8-ball today, not women.

I think marriage should be abolished and babies should be made in factories.

Mar. 25 2014 10:58 AM

Kel, wow. Keith and Sue, thank you.

Mar. 25 2014 10:57 AM

I am sorry if you disagree with my opinion of this man and obviously I am not referring to the topic at hand.

But if I were you I would inform myself more completely, before attacking the messenger.

Mar. 25 2014 10:57 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Thanks for ruining my morning, President Carter.

Mar. 25 2014 10:56 AM
Sue from Harlem

I haven't followed Pres. Carter much after his presidency, and don't watch Letterman, so I don't know anything about the controversies y'all are heated up about.

But what I have heard is that the former Pres. goes around the world building homes for poor people and taking on other projects to help people. And now he's advocating for the nigger of the world, in John Lennon's words. I have no argument with that. Growing up female ain't easy, and a reversal of our de-valued and under-valued (and, let's face it, among some -- hated) status would be most welcome!

Mar. 25 2014 10:54 AM
Keith D. Kulper from Hanover Township, NJ

President Carter always has something thoughtful to communicate to us...this topic is particularly interesting. Thank you, President Carter for continuing to be the exemplary person that you are.

Mar. 25 2014 10:53 AM

ABUSIVE COMMENT. Superf88, your comment grossly dehumanizes all people who have any sort of positive regard for Carter. On top of that, you simply hurl this abuse without offering a single idea or any support for your opinion. Given the specific issues Mr. Carter is raising, it's very telling that attempts to shame and de-humanize predominate even before we hear his voice on the air.

Mar. 25 2014 10:51 AM
Caesar Romaine from Manhattan

Meh. He's just trying to sell books.

Mar. 25 2014 10:46 AM

RE: Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

That quote is only applicable if one assume that Jimmy Carter's "home" is the USA. Brainwashed half-wits worldwide applaud Jimmy Carter for his strength of character in the face of adversity. Until I learned about Carter I was among that group. I am no conservative but he is no liberal.

Mar. 25 2014 10:40 AM
Kel from NYC et al

President Carter, thank you for writing A Call to Action. I remain an admirer of your moral imagination and emotional courage. For me, your insights about Christianity and women are especially welcome, and this morning they are also timely. A very close female relative who just died wrote a scholarly essay about some of the ways in which the historical Jesus embodied feminist thinking, despite the patriarchal contexts in which he operated. This morning I've been rereading that essay and her other remarkable writings. She was a great admirer of yours, and I don't want to get too specific in this context, but I am so glad to have turned from her essay to your voice and ideas on WNYC today. Thank you.

Mar. 25 2014 10:24 AM
Danusha Goska from NJ

Former President Jimmy Carter was interviewed by Andrea Mitchell. Carter identified Christianity as an oppressor of women. In fact scholar Rodney Stark has identified Christianity's respect for women as key and of historic importance.

The religion that oppresses women most egregiously is Islam. That is visible via a world map that shows countries with high sex ratios -- where males survive much more than females. These are largely Muslim countries, with Confucian and Hindu societies also showing badly.

Unless Carter talks about Islam's oppression of women and girls through forced child marriage, polygyny, FGM, laws about rape that result in women being incarcerated for the crime of being rape victims, Taliban destroying girls schools and shooting heroines like Malala at point blank range, stoning, enforced veiling, street harassment, etc, Carter is not to be believed.

Mar. 25 2014 10:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What a coincidence! Speaking of Carter and "today's headlines", ole Jimma was mentioned in a WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial just this weekend:

"No modern American president has been exposed as this feckless and impotent, except for perhaps Jimmy Carter. Mr. Obama will discover that as his image as a strong leader crumbles, it's nearly impossible to reconstruct. Once a president is seen as weak in foreign affairs, it colors perceptions of his leadership at home."

Mar. 25 2014 10:03 AM

(Comparing US Armed forces to "african rape armies?" Carter seems to have found his constituency -- it's ignorant, self-righteous, know-it-all haters of the US. I shudder to imagine the secret to this man's longevity.)

Mar. 25 2014 10:00 AM

Wouldn't tune out to hear Carter's tips to de Blasio -- on a self-appointed liberal not "Cartering"© your bully pulpit.

Mar. 25 2014 09:57 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Women's rights are abused around the world, many times at the hands of misused or abused religion, or incorrect religion. Probably almost as many women are tortured and killed as Christians (see John Allen's new book 'The Global War on Christians'). But the knowledgeable President Carter is a Baptist, and his reading of Paul, etc., is incorrect, and he has no business criticizing the Catholic Church for not ordaining women since he doesn't accept Catholic theology. Perhaps he is just saying what is popular.

Mar. 25 2014 08:17 AM

Carter be-clowned himself, on Letterman last night, comparing the U.S. Armed Forces to the "Rape Armies" of Africa. Disgusting.

Mar. 25 2014 04:03 AM

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