Book Reviews

Book Review: Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter – It’s Not What You Think

Jimmy Carter is someone I’ve admired for a long time. He has a strong moral conviction and actually manages to practice what he preaches. Actually, he doesn’t preach much. He’s just a strong example of how we should behave towards each other as human beings, especially those who profess to be Christians.

First published in 2005, Our Endangered Values has a lot to say about the changes Carter has observed in the country over the years, particularly following September 11th. He has some pretty harsh words for the Bush/Cheney administration and their manufactured war against Iraq. He sees the intertwining of religion and politics as a dangerous mix, and this is coming from someone who is a devout believer.

Carter never directly criticizes Bush, but the statements are quite an obvious condemnation of the actions by the Bush White House in the years after he was elected. He makes a good case for how diplomacy works and how it was working, particularly with Iraq, up until Bush/Cheney used September 11th as an excuse to invade that country. He also has strong condemnation for our tossing out the Geneva Convention and torturing people both at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

Carter also tackles other issues from a Christian perspective, making the case for environmentalism as a Christian issue, and not the climate-denial, profits-at-all-costs professed by so many other so-called Christians out there. We are supposed to be stewards of the earth, not exploiters. He really makes the case that the direction this country is taking is the antithesis of what we should be advocating as people of faith.

And this was in 2005.

I found Our Endangered Values easy to read. It’s just 224 pages, so it wasn’t very long. Obviously, Carter felt he had to weigh in on the direction things were going at the time. He tells why he supports women’s reproductive rights, even though he’s personally against abortion. He tells why LGBTQ+ rights aren’t against biblical teachings. Reading this for the first time all these years later, I can say Carter was right on the money. Everything the right-wing fundamentalists have grabbed onto is the antithesis of how I was raised in my community of faith. This isn’t just a book condemning Bush/Cheney. With the perspective of time, it condemns our society.

To find my highlights from this book, please go to:

2 replies »

  1. Carter always had character and intelligence. His presidency should have been more successful. He certainly has led one of the most post-presidential lives I can think of.