President Jimmy Carter on "the Most Serious Violation of Human Rights on Earth"

Season 7 Episode 620
Aired on 09/27/2015 | CC tv-14
President Jimmy Carter says he was very active in the Southern Baptist Convention, one of the largest Baptist denominations in the world, until they adopted a stance on women that didn't match his Christian beliefs.

In 2000, President Carter surprised many when he announced that he and his wife, Rosalynn, would leave the organization after 70 years of membership. In early 2015, the 90-year-old philanthropist wrote a column about his decision that went viral. Why did he exit a group he belonged to for seven decades?

"They decided, or ordained, several things that were contrary to my basic beliefs in Christ," President Carter tells Oprah in their Super Soul Sunday interview. "One of them was that women are inferior to men and don't have a role to play in a leadership position in the Southern Baptist Convention. So now women are forbidden to be a pastor, or a chaplain in the military or a deacon in a church. So Rosalynn and I decided just to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention."

For clarification, Oprah says, "Because there's no human rights unless there's women's rights."

"I think that's accurate," President Carter says, "and I believe that the most serious violation of human rights on Earth is the abuse of women and girls."

Watch as President Carter explains why he left his longtime church.