Jimmy Carter to Stephen Colbert: I'll Become Catholic on Two Conditions...

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | March 27, 2014 | 3:24 PM EDT

Former president Jimmy Carter told Stephen Colbert that he'd consider converting to Catholicism on two conditions: that Pope Francis "stays on in office" and that "a female Catholic priest asks me to join her church."

Carter made the remarks during a two-part interview on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" Tuesday night.

"So those are your demands?" Colbert asked.

The audience laughed and cheered, and Colbert added, "Jimmy Carter has drawn a line in the sand! Have you told the Pope this?"

"I wrote the Pope a letter about [my latest book,] and about the problem with women's abuse, and he sent me a very wonderful letter and he said that he agreed with many of the things I told him about, which he already knew I'm sure, and he said that in his opinion in the future years, women needed to play a much greater role in the Catholic Church than they were playing now or have played in the past," Carter said.

At this point the audience clapped, to which Colbert deadpanned, "Thank you, I did ask that question well."

"What's the negative side of religion here?" Colbert asked Carter, adding that Jesus only picked twelve male apostles.

"...Some of the words of Paul, who's our chief religious theologian for Christians, can be interpreted either way," Carter said. "If you're a male religious leader, and you want to stay in unchallenged power and not have women challengers, then you can pick some of those things that St. Paul said."

Carter elaborated on his opinion that certain leaders have "picked and chosen" certain verses of the Bible to suit their own ends, a theme he has repeated several times while promoting his latest book, "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power."

Colbert also questioned Carter about a statement he had made in the past, that he believes the NSA probably monitors his emails, so if he wants to remain private, he will send snail mail.

Colbert: "The NSA today said, 'No President Carter is wrong, we are not monitoring his emails' - so good news, you can start writing emails again, and the NSA has promised you they won't look at them, President Carter."

"It seems to me that a few weeks ago, the NSA Director told the U.S. Congress that they don't monitor anybody in the United States..." Carter replied.

"So.... we're all fine," Colbert said.

"So... we're all fine," Carter laughed.