BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Former President Jimmy Carter addressed a packed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church with his New Baptist Covenant message of racial reconciliation and cooperation on social issues.
Some 1,200 people filled the historic Birmingham church Saturday where four black girls died in a 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing.
Carter told the Southeast regional meeting of the new Baptist organization he helped found last year in Atlanta that there’s “no way for us to ignore Jesus’ emphasis on the poor, the brokenhearted.”
He said the evolution of the New Baptist Covenant is the “highlight of my religious life.” He spoke at a worship service that was followed by workshops on poverty and racism.
“It’s not an accident that God led us to Birmingham and this institute,” Carter said during a breakfast at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Carter recalled a time when racial prejudice was rampant in Baptist churches, and theologians defended separate worship.
“The Baptist church was a stalwart defender of segregation,” he said. “It was ingrained in our conscience.”
Carter said the meeting will help churches work better together. Read it all