Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: Nov. 2005
Page Count: 212
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President Carter has written importantly about his spiritual life and faith. In Living Faith, a huge bestseller, he recounted the values and experiences that shaped his personal and political life. In his companion book Sources of Strength, also a bestseller, he meditated on fifty-two of the favorite Bible lessons he has taught.
In Our Endangered Values, Carter offers a personal consideration of "moral values" as they relate to the important issues of the day. He puts forward a passionate defense of separation of church and state, and a strong warning of where the country is heading as the lines between politics and rigid religious fundamentalism are blurred.
Now, he describes his own involvement and reactions to some disturbing societal trends that have taken place during the last few years. These changes involve both the religious and the political worlds as they have increasingly become intertwined, and include some of the most crucial and controversial issues of the day -- frequently encapsulated under "moral values."
Many of these matters are under fierce debate. They include preemptive war, women's rights, terrorism, civil liberties, homosexuality, abortion, the death penalty, science and religion, environmental degradation, nuclear arsenals, America's global image, fundamentalism, and the melding of religion and politics.
Sustained by his lifelong faith, Jimmy Carter assesses these issues in a forceful and unequivocal but balanced and courageous way. Our Endangered Values is a book that his millions of readers have eagerly awaited.
This was neither the book I expected it to be, nor, I guess, what I hoped it would be. What it is is a collection of short essays by former President Carter setting forth his position on various moral and/or political issues and explaining how his Christian faith and his personal experiences have shaped those positions. And as such, it's a fine book. But I found it a little thin. For example, at various points throughout the book, he cites statistics and quotes newspaper articles, but doesn't provide references. That bothered me a bit. And frankly, I was hoping he would provide a more forceful denunciation of the moral failings of the current administration. Yes, he was consistent in his criticism of religious and political fundamentalists, but it would have been nice to see him link the current occupant of his old office with said fundamentalists. Oh well.