As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
Our Nation’s Godly Heritage
South Dakota – the 40th State, Admitted to the Union November 2, 1889
South Dakota’s Constitution, Article VI is its Bill of Rights. Section 3 concerns Freedom of Religion and states in part:
The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed. No person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or position on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse licentiousness, the invasion of the rights of others, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state.
Presidential Quote of the Week
Jimmy Carter (1924 – ), 39th President of the United States
Ours was the first society openly to define itself in terms of both spirituality and human liberty. It is that unique self-determination which has given us an exceptional appeal, but it also imposes on us a special obligation to take on those moral duties which, when assumed, seem invariably to be in our own best interests. You are giving me a great responsibility – to stay close to you, to be worthy of you, and to exemplify what you are. Let us create together a new national spirit of unity and trust. Your strength can compensate for my weaknesses, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes. Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end we will triumph together in the right. – Inaugural Address, January 19, 1977
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., was born in October 1924 in Plains, Georgia. He was the first president born in a hospital. The Carter family’s paternal ancestor arrived in the American colonies in 1635. He attended high school in Plains, and then enrolled at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia. Later, he applied to the United States Naval Academy, being admitted after taking some essential mathematics courses at Georgia Tech. He graduated from the Academy as a midshipman.
Carter served on surface ships and on diesel-electric submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. Carter loved the Navy and wished to make it his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations. However, he resigned his commission after six years of military service.
Carter then took over and expanded his family business of peanut farming in Plains. His political career started by serving on various boards, including entities such as the school boards, hospital and libraries boards. He served two terms in the Georgia State Senate. For a time in the State Senate he chaired its Education Committee. He also flirted with the idea of running for the United States House of Representatives, but ran instead for Governor of the State of Georgia, in which he was elected and served one term.
When he decided to run for president, the Watergate scandal was still fresh in the minds of voters, and his position as a Washington outsider became an asset. He became the front-runner early on and handily won against Jerry Ford. He served one term as president, and lost a bid for a second term to Ronald Reagan.
After his presidency, he returned to Georgia. He established The Carter Center, and has written numerous books, including his most recent White House Diary. In 2002, Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize. He has acted as an ex-officio ambassador in negotiations of various types in the Middle East, North Korea and Africa.
Carter is married to Rosalynn Smith Carter, and they had four children. They have three granddaughters and two great-grandsons. Married since 1946, the Carters are the second-longest wed Presidential couple after George and Barbara Bush. He lists his faith as Baptist.
He has traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, observe elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. Carter is a key figure in the Habitat for Humanity Project, and also remains particularly vocal in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also periodically teaches Sunday school and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.