Race is the primary reason white Southern men support the Republican Party, former President Jimmy Carter told Salon in an interview posted Thursday. Carter also pushed back against using the Bible to trample human rights.
When asked why white male Southerners have turned to the GOP, Carter said: "It’s race. That’s been prevalent in the South ... . Ever since Nixon ran -- and ever since Johnson didn’t campaign in the deep South, the Republicans have solidified their hold there."
Republican proposals, such as cutting food stamps and assuming the guilt of minorities and the mentally ill who are in jail, appeal to the rich, he said.
"Those kind of things just exalt the higher class, which is the whites, and they draw a subtle, but very effective racial line throughout the South," Carter said.
Carter also rejected interpretations of the Bible that are used to oppress women. He said individuals can find verses that belittle women but also many that pronounce the equality of all people.
"So, you know, you could find verses, but as far as Jesus Christ is concerned, he was unanimously and always the champion of women’s rights," he said. "He never deviated from that standard. And in fact he was the most prominent champion of human rights that lived in his time and I think there’s been no one more committed to that ideal than he is."
Carter has railed against religious groups using sexist interpretations of the Bible to trample human rights in other interviews as well. Carter's Thursday comments come on the heels of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) statement that his opposition to same-sex marriage is on "the right side of the Bible."