Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis Hardcover – 24 Feb 2006
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"This is a book of reason and tolerance but also of indignation. The former President draws on his religious faith to comment wisely on a wide range of 'hot button' issues. Although Carter's tone is patient and explanatory, his views are bound to be newsworthy and should rekindle some old fires...an eloquent personal testament that deserves a wide readership, regardless of political affiliation. Highly recommended."-- "Library Journal"
About the Author
Jimmy Carter who served as thirty-ninth president of the United States, was born in Plains, Georgia, in 1924. After leaving the White House, he and his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Atlanta-based Carter Center, a nonprofit organisation that works to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health around the world.
Top Customer Reviews
Of course Carter exaggerates how much better America's past leaders were. It's not quite true that past administrations consistently upheld negotiation over unilateral force, or pursued expansion rather that rolling back protection for the environment. But the values of many presidents from Jefferson to Eisenhower still look downright inspiring compared to more recently prevailing values. And I think Carter himself is showing himself as one of the most underrated great men of American history. His vision of America has involved seeking the power to inspire rather than the power to intimidate.
--author of Correcting Jesus
His book "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis" is something of a radical tract done in a civil way. The treatise, a searing indictment of the Bush administration, provides left-wing viewpoint with the "cover" of Carter's being a good Christian. He prays, but he still thinks things stink (stunk); much the way the guy with dreadlocks and drum in the street has been saying for, oh, ever now.
Not everybody loves Carter, and this literary, frontal assault made him no friends among the screeching heads.
Which is why people in other countries do things like invite him to monitor the fairness of their elections and give him Nobel Peace prizes. Because then we'll have to pay at least a little attention to him.
The book provides a nice (Christian) insider's view of how fundamentalists slowly assumed leadership of Christian movements in the U.S. and committed them to political action. Very similar, Carter points out, to what we are grappling with in the Muslim world (and everywhere else).
Rather than go back over the book we'll discuss how the Bush crowd bungled the whole business with North Korea by way of example.
According to the book, Carter had then-President Clinton's blessing to work out a deal with Kim Il Sung, dad of the current leader, Kim Jong Il. What he got was a commitment by North Korea to cease its nuclear program at Yongbyon and permit International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to ensure that spent fuel stayed spent fuel.
Sung died and Jong kept the old man's word. In South Korea, Kim Dae Jung held out a whole bouquet of olive branches to the northern nemesis and gained the Nobel Peace Prize for 2000.Read more ›
He writes from the point of view of a man deeply committed to his evangelical and Baptist faith; but he is not blindly devoted, for he is prepared to challenge the position taken by leaders in the church across America.
In view of the re-election of Barak Obama and the agenda of the new administration, notably about gun control, this is a book worth taking into consideration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In "Our Endangered Values", Carter describes a set of American values: equality, liberty, justice for all, individual empowerment, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and leadership by example. This is framed by a narrative which is personal and focused on people finding common ground on which to build a better tomorrow.
These values are then contrasted against what is described as a general trend toward fundamentalism. The fundamentalism Carter argues against is not the adherance to a literal interpretation of secular texts, but the practice of intolerance regarding people of differing beliefs.
Intolerance, he argues, becomes particularly dangerous where people choose to recognize their leaders and institutions as masters rather than servants. Such leaders and their institutions tend to combine their beliefs and intolerance into agendas which exclude, dehumanize and punish.
From there, it is just a hop, a skip, and a jump to a laundry list of ways in which the actions of recent administrations and highly visible religious leaders are tipping the balance toward fundamentalism and endangering the values he holds dear.
In summary, it is well worth reading, and is relatively light reading at that. Some reviewers have come down fairly harshly on the book for religious and/or political grounds. I think they miss the point. Carter isn't mandating that you subscribe to his beliefs. He is asking you to look for common ground and tolerate the differences.
For a Christian who is as faithful and devout as Carter to denounce people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (two men who do not, by the way, build houses for the homeless or visit devastated regions of the world) for controlling and brainwashing millions of Americans is a very big deal. We need to be paying attention.
For Carter, whose faith is basically the reason he gets out of bed every morning, to say that we are skirting a dangerously slippery slope when it comes to the separation of church and state is a BIG DEAL. We NEED to be paying attention.
Don't be afraid of this book if you're not a Christian, and don't be afraid of it if you are. Carter carefully separates his faith from yours, and maintains that faith and religion is a private and personal choice, and he NEVER proselytizes or gets preachy. What he does do, though, is make very clear that the Christian right is not right, nor do they speak for all devout Christians in this country. He simply wants to see us get on the right track again. A wonderful book.
In general, I think it is well-written and much more readable than some of his earlier books. The problem is stated, the gauntlet thrown down. Maybe it is for the next generation to take up the challenge.