PLAINS, Ga. — Unrepentant former president Jimmy Carter, who told reporters last month that Jesus would approve of “gay marriage” and “any love affair,” drew record crowds to his Sunday School class yesterday following reports that cancer from his liver had spread to his brain.
According to reports, over 300 people attended the class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, some of whom drove hours to be present and to have their photograph taken with Carter. But because of the overflow with hundreds still waiting, Carter taught two classes instead of one to accommodate the crowds—one of which was held at a nearby high school.
Carter, 90, spoke briefly of his cancer diagnosis, for which he had obtained radiation therapy just days prior. He mentioned that doctors had discovered melanoma on his brain following surgery to remove part of his liver.
“I don’t have any other radiation scheduled, but I have four sessions of a supplemental medicine,” Carter explained.
After a less than a minute talk on the subject, the former president delivered a message on love and relationships.
“Anybody know what eros is?” he asked, referring to the Greek word for sexual expression or physical attraction.
“Nobody in here knows?” he asked after none provided a response.
“Between a man and a woman!” a woman declared.
“It’s okay to mention it in church,” Carter stated, informing those gathered that his relationship with his wife Roslynn “didn’t begin with eros, I might say.”
Carter talked about other types of love as well, such as brotherly love and loving one’s enemies.
“Just being able to admit you might be mistaken and that the other person might be right” can help to improve a relationship, he stated.
Carter also told those gathered that they should look to God in hard times.
“Any time, we can just bow our heads and say, ‘God, I’m really troubled. I ask you to give me the strength to bear whatever is on my shoulders and to bear whatever comes to me,'” he said.
According to reports, Carter normally teaches about 40 people on weeks that he is present. Sunday’s attendance was by far his largest.
As previously reported, in an interview with the Huffington Post last month, Carter asserted that Jesus would approve of same-sex “marriage,” and really, “any love affair.”
“I never have run across any really serious conflicts between my political obligations and my religious faith,” he said in being asked how much his faith was a part of his political career.
“How about gay marriage?” asked interviewer Marc Lamont Hill.
“That’s no problem with me,” Carter replied. “I think everyone should have a right to get married regardless of their sex.”
He said he would draw the line at forcing churches who oppose same-sex nuptials to officiate the ceremonies, but added that “those two partners should be able to go to a local courthouse or another church and get married.”
“Would Jesus approve [of] gay marriage?” Hill asked moments later.
“I believe Jesus would,” Carter replied. “I don’t have any verse in Scripture. I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.”