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Grace Notes

Ex-President Jimmy Carter

Ex-President Jimmy Carter

I’m not going to wait for Jimmy Carter to die before giving him the tribute I think he so richly deserves. No man who has served as President of the United States has gone on to have such an inspiring post-political career. He has been a force for good both in the United States (Habitat for Humanity) and across the world (The Carter Center).

In a recent interview, he says he has had a good life, and that the best decision he ever made was marrying his wife Rosalynn. (The worst decision was not sending an additional helicopter to rescue the Iranian hostages.) He is thankful for his life—and millions around the world who have been touched by his good deeds are thankful for his life.

I once worked with Manuel D. Plotkin, who served as Carter’s director of the Bureau of the Census. He recalls once meeting his former boss in a hotel lobby. Upon recognizing him, Carter asked how he feels the 1980 census, which was performed under his watch, came out. Plotkin smiled and said, “It was a resounding success, Mr. President.” Carter smiled and shook his hand, replying, “I’m happy something turned out well.”

Today, as his days dwindle down to a few, Carter is the closest thing we have to a living saint. Never have I seen an Evangelical Christian who not only showed he had something between his ears other than mucus, but demonstrated in his own life a muscular and honest Christianity that serves as a beacon to all men of all faiths. I understand that after his cancer treatments today and tomorrow, he plans to teach Sunday school. I think that what he would have to say would be worth listening to, because who today—especially if he or she has been in politics—has lived the Sermon on the Mount the way he has?

If the Christian heaven truly exists, President Carter, it is because of the efforts and beliefs of men like you!