It first appeared like a crazy idea. It turned out he had a great idea.J. Richard Munro
- We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.
- Speech in March 1976
- Aggression unopposed becomes a contagious disease.
- Quoted in "US-Pakistan Relationship: Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan" - Page 73 - by A. Z. Hilali - Political Science - 2005
- I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me.
- Interview in Playboy magazine (1976), while a candidate for President.
- Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use.
- Message to Congress, August 2nd, 1977
- We have the heaviest concentration of lawyers on Earth—one for every five-hundred Americans; three times as many as are in England, four times as many as are in West Germany, twenty-one times as many as there are in Japan. We have more litigation, but I am not sure that we have more justice. No resources of talent and training in our own society, even including the medical care, is more wastefully or unfairly distributed than legal skills. Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people. We are over-lawyered and under-represented.
- Remarks at the 100th Anniversary Luncheon of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 4th, 1978.
- But I want to stress again that human rights are not peripheral to the foreign policy of the United States. Our pursuit of human rights is part of a broad effort to use our great power and our tremendous influence in the service of creating a better world, a world in which human beings can live in peace, in freedom, and with their basic needs adequately met.
- Remarks at a White House meeting commemorating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December of 1978
- Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.
- Remarks at a White House meeting commemorating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December of 1978
- For the first time in the history of our country the majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years.
- "Energy and the National Goals -- A Crisis of Confidence," 1979
- We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During the period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities— not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself.
- Farewell Address 1980
- Iraq is an unjust war. (spoken on the Diane Rehm Show; stated in articles written for NY Times; printed in USA Today)
- This war has been motivated by pride or arrogance, by a desire to control oil wealth, by a desire to implant our programs. (on the Diane Rehm Show.
- We are completely in bed with the Israelis to the detriment of the wellbeing of the Palestinians. (spoken on the Diane Rehm Show.)
- Ultimately, the basic issue is whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and the integrity of the American people, or whether extremist doctrines, the manipulation of the truth, will define America's role in the world. At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul. But I am not discouraged. I really am not. I do not despair for our country. I never do. I believe, as I always have, the essential decency and compassion and common sense of the American people will prevail.
- Democratic National Convention 2004
- Anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment in which they live. This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness for wealth, possessions, influence and fame, but adhering to God’s standards of truth, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
- Our Endangered Values, 2005
- I can't deny I'm a better ex-president than I was a president.
- Ritz-Carlton Hotel, November 3, 2005
- I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon.
- Spiegel, August 15, 2006
- Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future.
- Misquotation. Carter actually referred to the Republican party as "a party with a narrow vision, a party that is afraid of the future".
- Party fundraiser in Hollywood, Fla.
- Since I was 18 years old, I have taught the Bible. For the last fifteen or twenty years, I have taught every Sunday when I was home or near my own house, so that would be 35 or 40 times per year. Half of those Sundays, the text comes from the Hebrew Bible. I have had a deep personal interest in the Holy Land and in the teachings of the Hebrew people. God has a special position for the Jewish people, the Hebrews, or whatever. I know the difference between ancient Israel and Judaea, and I know the history. I don’t have any problem with the Jewish people.
Nobel lecture (2002)
Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway (10 December 2002)
- Most Nobel Laureates have carried out our work in safety, but there are others who have acted with great personal courage. None has provided more vivid reminders of the dangers of peacemaking than two of my friends, Anwar Sadat and Yitzak Rabin, who gave their lives for the cause of peace in the Middle East.
- The world has changed greatly since I left the White House. Now there is only one superpower, with unprecedented military and economic strength. The coming budget for American armaments will be greater than those of the next fifteen nations combined, and there are troops from the United States in many countries throughout the world. Our gross national economy exceeds that of the three countries that follow us, and our nation's voice most often prevails as decisions are made concerning trade, humanitarian assistance, and the allocation of global wealth. This dominant status is unlikely to change in our lifetimes.
Great American power and responsibility are not unprecedented, and have been used with restraint and great benefit in the past. We have not assumed that super strength guarantees super wisdom, and we have consistently reached out to the international community to ensure that our own power and influence are tempered by the best common judgment.
Within our country, ultimate decisions are made through democratic means, which tend to moderate radical or ill-advised proposals. Constrained and inspired by historic constitutional principles, our nation has endeavored for more than two hundred years to follow the now almost universal ideals of freedom, human rights, and justice for all.
- Ladies and gentlemen: Twelve years ago, President Mikhail Gorbachev received your recognition for his preeminent role in ending the Cold War that had lasted fifty years. But instead of entering a millennium of peace, the world is now, in many ways, a more dangerous place. The greater ease of travel and communication has not been matched by equal understanding and mutual respect. There is a plethora of civil wars, unrestrained by rules of the Geneva Convention, within which an overwhelming portion of the casualties are unarmed civilians who have no ability to defend themselves. And recent appalling acts of terrorism have reminded us that no nations, even superpowers, are invulnerable. It is clear that global challenges must be met with an emphasis on peace, in harmony with others, with strong alliances and international consensus.
- I am not here as a public official, but as a citizen of a troubled world who finds hope in a growing consensus that the generally accepted goals of society are peace, freedom, human rights, environmental quality, the alleviation of suffering, and the rule of law.
- The unchanging principles of life predate modern times. I worship Jesus Christ, whom we Christians consider to be the Prince of Peace. As a Jew, he taught us to cross religious boundaries, in service and in love. He repeatedly reached out and embraced Roman conquerors, other Gentiles, and even the more despised Samaritans.
Despite theological differences, all great religions share common commitments that define our ideal secular relationships. I am convinced that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and others can embrace each other in a common effort to alleviate human suffering and to espouse peace.
But the present era is a challenging and disturbing time for those whose lives are shaped by religious faith based on kindness toward each other. We have been reminded that cruel and inhuman acts can be derived from distorted theological beliefs, as suicide bombers take the lives of innocent human beings, draped falsely in the cloak of God's will. With horrible brutality, neighbors have massacred neighbors in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
In order for us human beings to commit ourselves personally to the inhumanity of war, we find it necessary first to dehumanize our opponents, which is in itself a violation of the beliefs of all religions. Once we characterize our adversaries as beyond the scope of God's mercy and grace, their lives lose all value. We deny personal responsibility when we plant landmines and, days or years later, a stranger to us — often a child – is crippled or killed. From a great distance, we launch bombs or missiles with almost total impunity, and never want to know the number or identity of the victims.
- The most serious and universal problem is the growing chasm between the richest and poorest people on earth. Citizens of the ten wealthiest countries are now seventy-five times richer than those who live in the ten poorest ones, and the separation is increasing every year, not only between nations but also within them.
- Ladies and gentlemen: War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.
- The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes — and we must.
- Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.
- A spirit that permeates the universe, the essence of truth, nature, being, life, indescribable concepts which are trivialized when expressed in words. (defining God)
- A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.
- America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense human rights invented America.
- An avenue to God, an example, a guide, and a source of reassurance, strength, and wisdom. (defining Christ)
- For this generation, ours, life is nuclear survival, liberty is human rights, the pursuit of happiness is a planet whose resources are devoted to the physical and spiritual nourishment of its inhabitants.
- Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing... you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn't affect two-thirds of the people of the world.
- Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. People have the right to expect that these wants will be provided for by this wisdom.
- I don't, however, see anything wrong with Christians, Muslims, and Jews exhibiting their own faith in the political arena. Christ tried to change the society within which he lived. He didn't hold public office and wouldn't have. But you don't have to hold public office to try to change the basic policies of a country.
- I look forward to these confrontations with the press to kind of balance up the nice and pleasant things that come to me as president.
- I personally feel the Bible says all people are equal in the eyes of God. I personally feel that women should play an absolutely equal role in service of Christ in the church.
- If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.
- If you're totally illiterate and living on one dollar a day, the benefits of globalization never come to you.
- In this outward and physical ceremony we attest once again to the inner and spiritual strength of our Nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: 'We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.'
- It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature's gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.
- Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.
- Prayer helps me to analyze the problem I face and to understand myself. It opens up a very important healing process. In my prayers I ask myself three key questions: 1. Are the goals I am pursuing appropriate? 2. Am I doing the right thing, based on my personal moral code, and, 3. Have I done my best, based on the alternatives open to me?
- The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.
- The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself-always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity.
- The government ought to stay out of the prayer business.
- The obvious answer is to follow the standards and the priorities that were established so clearly by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, who was dedicated to justice, peace, humility, service, compassion, and love. I would put an emphasis at this moment among Christians on forgiveness and accommodation.
- There was promulgation of false propaganda by the administration about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was promulgation of false propaganda about Iraq as a base for Al Qaeda.
- To deal with individual human needs at the everyday level can be noble sometimes.
- To me faith is not just a noun but also a verb.
- Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.
- We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
- We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business.
- Wherever life takes us, there are always moments of wonder.
- With increasing maturity, I have learned to understand the fallibilities of ourselves and others, to forgive. Forgiveness is a basic foundation of my faith. It's through this exchange of criticism, based on mutual understanding and forgiveness, that we are able to grow.
- You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.
- You can not divorce religious belief and public service. I've never detected any conflict between God's will and my political duty. If you violate one, you violate the other.
- The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
- (on Nicolae Ceauşescu) Our goals are the same, to have a just system of economics and politics, to let the people of the world share in growth, in peace, in personal freedom, and in the benefits to be derived from the proper utilization of natural resources. We believe in enhancing human rights. We believe that we should enhance, as independent nations, the freedom of our own people. 
Quotations about Jimmy Carter
- You say that you are Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here [El Salvador], because they use it only to kill my people.
- Archbishop Oscar Romero, letter to Jimmy Carter, February 1980
- a waste of skin
- Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway (10 December 2002)