Jimmy Carter: ‘I Believe Jesus Would Approve Gay Marriage’

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2015 | 4:04pm EDT
Former President Jimmy Carter (AP Photo)

( - Former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with HuffPost Live on Tuesday said he believes Jesus would approve gay marriage and would encourage any “love affair” that was “honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else.”

“I believe Jesus would,” Carter said when asked whether Jesus would approve of gay marriage. “I don’t have any verse in scripture ... I believe that Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that's just my own personal belief. 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."

In Matthew 19: 4-6, Jesus defines marriage as the union of a man and woman "joined together" by God.

The Gospel says: "He said in reply, 'Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

Carter, a born-again Christian and Baptist, said he still teaches Sunday school whenever he attends his home church. He. said he has never ran across “any really serious conflicts” between his political obligations and his religious faith.

When asked about gay marriage, Carter said he has no problem with it and thinks everyone should have the right to get married, “regardless of their sex.”

“The only thing I would draw a line on, 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 the local courthouse or to a different church and get married,” he said.

Carter does, however, have a “problem with abortion.”

“I have a hard time believing that Jesus, for instance, would approve abortions, unless it was because of rape or incest, or if the mother’s life was in danger,” he said. “So I’ve had that struggle, but my oath of office was to obey the Constitution … as interpreted by the Supreme Court.”

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