Idol Chatter

bobdylanpic.jpgJimmy Carter, it seems, believes in the separation between church and rock. The former president, whose 1976 White House campaign saw both performances by the Allman Brothers Band and the introduction of the term “born again” to the Washington media’s lexicon, has revealed in a new book that he became disenchanted with Bob Dylan after the singer was converted to Christianity. Writes Kevin Mattson in his history of Carter’s “malaise” speech, “Jimmy Carter’s favorite rock musician now refused to sing the songs the president most enjoyed . . . [those] written before Dylan found Jesus.”

Not that Jimmy Carter was ever the great Christian leader evangelicals expected. He nearly lost the Christian vote when he admitted to lusting after women other than his wife in a Playboy interview shortly before voters went to the polls. As president, he went after Christian independent schools’ tax-exempt status.
But Carter’s distaste for Christian Dylan speaks more to his social-justice views than his religious allegiance: Carter once said he’d never understood the confilct between landowner and farmworker until he heard Dylan’s song “Maggie’s Farm.” It’s understandable that Carter would have found more Christian relevance in Dylan’s anti-war and civil-rights songs than in his reinterpretations of Bible passages.
Read the Beliefnet Interview with Jimmy Carter.
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