Jimmy Carter is not a saint. If you doubt that, read Steven Hayward’s The Real Jimmy Carter. But The New York Times never noticed that book. Last Sunday, they boosted Randall Balmer’s Carter book Redeemer, which pitches Carter metaphorically as...Christ-like.
It’s bad enough that Balmer uses his book to claim nastily that the Religious Right was organized by the late Paul Weyrich around segregationism. Reviewer Molly Worthen began by claiming “Jimmy Carter may be the most pious man ever to have occupied the White House. He was ‘born again’ at age 11 and has taught Sunday school for decades.”
Reporting the lead story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner touted a new on-line poll conducted by Parade magazine about religion in America: “nearly a quarter of the respondents call themselves spiritual, not religious. And how about this? Half the people polled say they seldom, if ever, attend religious services.”
One supposed religious expert Teichner spoke with about the poll findings was Barnard College professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer, who argued: “And so you have all these religious options out there and we Americans are good consumers.” Teichner asked: “So you’re saying that Americans choose their faith or their spirituality in very much the way they shop a mall.” Balmer replied: “I think they do.” In 2006, Balmer wrote Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
The Parade magazine cover story about the poll was written by Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. In addition, Wicker is also a contributing writer for the left-wing blog The Huffington Post. Just days prior to the 2008 presidential election, Wicker authored a post entitled “Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun,” in which she claimed: “They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists....They’ve used their pulpits to endorse McCain...None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control. So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town’s people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand.”