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Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis Paperback – September 26, 2006
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About the Author
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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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will be the first American to say Jimmy Carter could not hold his own as our president. He simply cared too much, didn't know "the game" and how to play it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. V. Hennburg
Whether you agree with all of his views or not, this is a good, thought-provoking read and would make a good discussion piece for a family who wants to explore critical thinking... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ava Collopy Books
Jimmy Carter has written many books since his time in office. His blend of foreign policy ideas, views of national politics, national security and his personal faith background... Read morePublished 9 months ago by C P Slayton
President Cater helps us recognize our strengths as a nation. He also helps us, and challenges, us to live up to our moral responsibilities as a nation.Published 11 months ago by M. Sezzi
Jimmy Carter may not have been the best president - events conspired against him - but he IS a great American.
He lives and breathes his faith and patriotism. Read more
Excellent easy read a must for folks who want to get the basics of most of the political, economic and especially "religious" issues that divide our country. Read morePublished 12 months ago by caseyat bat