Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that Jesus would approve of gay marriage and certain abortions in an interview with HuffPost Live.
Speaking of his faith, Mr. Carter said in his career as a politician he never ran across “any really serious conflicts between my political obligations and my religious faith.”
Asked about gay marriage, he replied that it is “no problem with me. I think everybody should have a right to get married regardless of their sex.
Regarding whether he thinks Jesus would approve of gay marriage, Carter replied “I don’t have any verse in Scripture,” but added, “I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage.”
“I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,” he said.
The 39th president did add a caveat concerning religious liberty and the right to “opt out” of same-sex marriage.
“The only thing I would draw a line on,” he said, is “I wouldn’t be in favor of the government being able to force a local church congregation to perform gay marriages if they didn’t want to. But those two partners should be able to go to a local courthouse or to a different church and get married.”
Mr. Carter said that abortion has always been a struggle for him, because he does not believe Jesus would be in favor of most abortions.
“I have had a problem with abortion. This has been a long-time problem of mine,” he said.
“I have a hard time believing that Jesus would approve abortions unless it was because of rape or incest or if the mother’s life was in danger. So I’ve had that struggle,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome