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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Christian, and emotional arguments for tolerance
In reading the book, I was reminded of the saying that people don't remember what you said. They remember how you made them feel. In this Carter succeeds. That said, don't pick up a copy of the book expecting to find well reasoned positions backed with unambigous references to reliable data and statistics.

In "Our Endangered Values", Carter describes a set of...
Published on November 28, 2005 by C. Garrett Goebel

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American Values and Compassion
This book by Jimmy Carter is really more of an opinion essay about a problem that he is finding to be increasingly disturbing. Jimmy sees the leadership of the USA as a country which stands for freedom and is a force for decency, morality, and liberty declining because of actions we have taken both here in America and abroad.

He focuses on alot of things and...
Published on December 28, 2005 by Crack Reviewer


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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Christian, and emotional arguments for tolerance, November 28, 2005
By 
In reading the book, I was reminded of the saying that people don't remember what you said. They remember how you made them feel. In this Carter succeeds. That said, don't pick up a copy of the book expecting to find well reasoned positions backed with unambigous references to reliable data and statistics.

In "Our Endangered Values", Carter describes a set of American values: equality, liberty, justice for all, individual empowerment, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and leadership by example. This is framed by a narrative which is personal and focused on people finding common ground on which to build a better tomorrow.

These values are then contrasted against what is described as a general trend toward fundamentalism. The fundamentalism Carter argues against is not the adherance to a literal interpretation of secular texts, but the practice of intolerance regarding people of differing beliefs.

Intolerance, he argues, becomes particularly dangerous where people choose to recognize their leaders and institutions as masters rather than servants. Such leaders and their institutions tend to combine their beliefs and intolerance into agendas which exclude, dehumanize and punish.

From there, it is just a hop, a skip, and a jump to a laundry list of ways in which the actions of recent administrations and highly visible religious leaders are tipping the balance toward fundamentalism and endangering the values he holds dear.

In summary, it is well worth reading, and is relatively light reading at that. Some reviewers have come down fairly harshly on the book for religious and/or political grounds. I think they miss the point. Carter isn't mandating that you subscribe to his beliefs. He is asking you to look for common ground and tolerate the differences.
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70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book all Americans should read, December 2, 2005
I have found this to be a most honest and direct evaluation of the current national situation. It is an easy book to read and demonstrates the unusual honesty of Jimmy Carter as a past president and current world humanitarian. His evaluation of the current administration's shortcomings and intrigue in its selling of the Iraq war to the American public and Congress is most interesting and enlightening. He substantiates his concern for the other detrimental actions of the present administartion throudh his own religeous beliefs and gives an explanation of his separation from the Southern Baptist Convention.
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive take on a subect that can be elaqueated, November 13, 2005
By 
As a moderate in this country, I have always felt uneasy with the current adminstration agenda. President Carter, who I feel is very genuine in this book, has detailed what is deeply wrong with the right wing of the Republican party. They have seemed to have "highjacked" patriotism to a level I have not seen in this country. The notion of "Either you're with us or against us" proves that fundamentalists have no direct business in government. The reason I gave the book 4 stars, is because Carter did not explain in great detail how we can peacefully combat the likes of the Dobsons, Robertsons, and the Farwells. Furthermore, this book was very uplifting, and once again proves to me that Christians are a group of people who help the poor, nonvoilent peace loving personas, something the Bush adminstration has forgotten.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and well-written., December 15, 2005
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Jimmy Carter is, in my book, one of the finest human beings on the face of this planet. He's devoutly Christian and he walks the walk, unlike many of the televangelists who've grown to hold political power today. He builds houses for the homeless, visits war-torn countries on his own dime and at terrible risk to his own life, and he'll continue to do these things until he dies, because being Christlike is his goal in life. He's just that kind of man. And for this, you must respect him, and take it very seriously that he thinks far-right Christian fundamentalism is problematic.

For a Christian who is as faithful and devout as Carter to denounce people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (two men who do not, by the way, build houses for the homeless or visit devastated regions of the world) for controlling and brainwashing millions of Americans is a very big deal. We need to be paying attention.

For Carter, whose faith is basically the reason he gets out of bed every morning, to say that we are skirting a dangerously slippery slope when it comes to the separation of church and state is a BIG DEAL. We NEED to be paying attention.

Don't be afraid of this book if you're not a Christian, and don't be afraid of it if you are. Carter carefully separates his faith from yours, and maintains that faith and religion is a private and personal choice, and he NEVER proselytizes or gets preachy. What he does do, though, is make very clear that the Christian right is not right, nor do they speak for all devout Christians in this country. He simply wants to see us get on the right track again. A wonderful book.
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Credible Commentary from a Responsible Leader, November 22, 2005
I read this in one sitting. Generally well written, very readable and an honest representation of a bold perspective formed by a trusted leader from a credible vantage point...inside. I have always admired Jimmy Carter's integrity and post-presidential behavior. The best ex-pres in 50 years. Not the most forceful president but we could use a bit of his humility, sense of diplomacy and moderate toned aversion to belligerent rhetoric and bellicose behavior in today's world situation. Frankly, I believe he gives us all an honest and useful whack in the head. The incremental dismantling of the foundational values of out republic should be of concern to all and worthy of reflection and open dialogue. Mr. Carter frames the issues well and gives the responsible reader an excellent set of points to compare and contrast with contrary positions. I'll buy it for my children as one piece of the intellectual puzzle they must wrestle with... "How can America stay truly great?" He helps the reader understand that we are a nation substantially out of synch with our core principles and losing ground fast. He clearly paints a picture of the US position in the world eroding before eyes that don't see it. He helps us understand in a critical-thinking fashion that we are in a most unsettling time that is all to often framed by the pointless prattle of the extremes at both ends... especially the religious right, an out of control Christian zealotry that assumes moral authority and some perverse pipeline to a discriminating deity as legitimizing elements. Jimmy Carter's discussion of the God of his faith paints a benevolent and inclusive image not a judgmental condemning punisher of folks who don't agree with Pat Robertson. That's more my kind of God. Mr. Carter helps the reader understand why things are the way they are from a position left of center. I will seek a perspective from a little right of center and think about it some more. Perhaps, John McCain's latest book or something similar. I think Our Endangered Values it is worth a read, demands reflection and is brought to life through dialogue, debate and action. I respect different views as the seeds of new perspective but frankly, find much of the vitriolic rhetoric in many of the reviews to represent the closing of the American mind more than the opening of productive discourse. I look forward to respectful contrary viewpoints.
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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all who care about America's future, December 1, 2005
By 
Joseph Palen (Eugene, OR United States) - See all my reviews
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From one who has been there and who sees things with eyes of a follower of Christ, here is the best account I have seen of the slide America is in away from our position of once proud nation, moral leader of the world, and protector of the disadvantaged. He places this slide not so much on inept leadership (and no president is perfect) but on a conscious, calculated move toward more advantages for the very rich. The numbers tell the story and he supplies enough of them to make this a very scary work of non-fiction. Of course, being a Christian, he gives a ray of hope at the end. But no quick fixes.

In general, I think it is well-written and much more readable than some of his earlier books. The problem is stated, the gauntlet thrown down. Maybe it is for the next generation to take up the challenge.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest thoughts from a Christian Progressive..., December 8, 2005
Any, and I mean ANY, thoughts, ideas or theories to help us understand the divided times we are in is appreciated. Especially thoughts from a man with age, wisdom and a stint in the White House behind him.

The sycophants (Thank you for bringing that work back into fashion Jimmy) who have posted here that proclaim the weakness of this book based on the perceived success Mr. Carter had as President of the United States or that Mr. Carter is not a "real" Christian (since they apparently have the undisputed moral scorecard by which Christians are ranked) are parroting the same silliness that they are ordered too by their AM Radio prophets. What are they so afraid of? It is just a book!

Although Carter sings to the choir on the lost progressive ideas of his time and the empty shell in the White House, the real message here is how the "moral" right has gone a little nut-house and that we may become the very thing we claim to loathe so much - A Theocracy!

Far from perfect, this book does what books are supposed to do - Make you think. And that it does very well....
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109 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentalists - More Than Bush - Put to Task by Someone Who Knows the Pressure, November 9, 2005
Jimmy Carter, the most prolific of former commanders-in-chief, has come out with his twentieth book and surprisingly the first that is overtly political. While the book is an incisive and decidedly critical look at Bush's foreign and domestic policies, it also reflects the mass of contradictions that Carter has represented as both a political leader and a man of faith. His commitment to human rights informed his presidency, but his limited abilities in campaigning and governing reflected a certain naïveté about public policy implementation.

Carter takes full aim at the fundamentalists. Fundamentalism, Carter writes, has three attributes: "rigidity, domination, and exclusion". He explains that the rigor by which Bush has courted the religious right has induced a domino effect of pain points for the country - tax cuts for the wealthy, proposed spending cuts to social programs, utter disrespect for human rights, cruelty toward prisoners in Iraq, a despoiled environment and an imperialistic foreign policy. These are the indicators of how far the US has fallen, in particular, becoming a pariah in many countries. Once a moral beacon to the world, the US, according to Carter, has fallen in its global standing due to the influence wielded by fundamentalists over our policies. Carter's perspective comes from being a devout Southern Baptist, a faith that has been adamant about the separation of church and state. Consequently, he derides the unprecedented historic merging of church and state under President Bush, as he provides valid reasons to distrust religious hierarchies and respect the autonomy of local congregations.

There is no question that Carter is a religious man who believes Bush's Christian faith but not to the extent of informing government policy. Fundamentalism has gotten this country into a mess, but he sincerely feels religion can once again help the nation finds its soul. Granted, there are times when Carter treats the reader like a Sunday school student, but he is overly cautious when he moves back to the political when examining the details of Bush's policies. This is where the book falls a bit short as he skirts around more secular issues such as the environment or counterterrorism as if he is running for office again. Probably out of respect for the office he once held, Carter seems reluctant to point a finger at Bush, and to some extent, I admire his restraint. However, a dispassionate tone surfaces periodically, and Carter's voice without prophetic urgency has a tendency to sound more like wonk-speak than a man propelled by the power of the Bible.

Bush is not the only one he puts to task, as he also expresses hesitation about his own party as well. He states emphatically that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry failed to connect with deeply religious voters by appealing to their sense of logic and overemphasizing controversial topics like abortion rights. At 81, Carter is showing himself to be far more of a renaissance man now since he left the Oval Office a quarter century ago. This book illustrates how the distance of twenty-five years lends his perspective a resonance that none of the anti-Bush brigade could muster. This is a highly recommended read.
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108 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the fundamentalists who have ganged up on Carter, November 3, 2005
This is a brilliant, perceptive book by an ineffectual president who became a Nobel Peace Prize winner after he left the white house. Carter calls it like it is. Yes this is a Christian Country, but it is NOT a Christian Fundamentalist Country. Less than a third of the country espouses the socalled Bush Ethics. Thank god for that. I highly recommend this book for all THINKING Christians.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some things that had to be told., January 1, 2006
By 
D. Rigas (Northbrook, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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What happens when the richest and most powerful country in the world is governed by the wealthy, the selfish, the arrogant? What happens when a growing religious denomination becomes authoritarian, convinces itself that it alone possesses all the truth and knowledge for one's salvation and penetrates the government to implement its theological mandates?

In his latest book, President Carter explains why these statements portray the current situation in the U.S. and the destruction they wreak not only upon this nation, but upon the entire earth and its inhabitants. The author does not attempt to convince his reader of the truth as much as to describe what lies at the destination of our path. He knows he cannot convert the ardent fundamentalist or the arrogantly self-assured Washington administration. He hopes, however, that it can show how people's apathy is bringing in a world directly opposite to basic American values; a world of diminishing personal liberty, decreasing ability to earn a respectable living, deteriorating health protection, explosive chasms between rich and poor (people as well as nations), destruction of the land, increasing pollution, loss of our country's prestige, acceptance of barbaric actions, increasingly secretive and imperial government, and so on.

Understandably there is some minor self-patting on the back by the author regarding the operation of his Carter Center, but we can forgive our ex-president an attempt to separate himself from the actions of recent administrations. This is a must-read book. Even if you already know everything that it covers, some of the specific details will shock you.

(The writer is the author of "Christianity without Fairy Tales: When Science and Religion Merge.")
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