On the Sunday after he was formally chosen to be the Democratic party’s candidate for President, Jimmy Carter was back in Plains, Georgia, where he taught an adult Sunday-school class at First Baptist Church. About half of his some eighty listeners were reporters and Secret Service agents. The lesson was on the need for love, justice, and humility.

“We ought to make our own societal structure a better demonstration of what Christ is,” commented Carter—the first Deep South presidential nominee since 1848.

If that can be done from the top down, Southern Baptist Carter may get a chance to wield his influence come November. Some early polls show him beating both President Ford and Ronald Reagan.

Retired Atlanta pastor Martin Luther King, Sr., 76, a Georgia delegate who delivered the benediction at the final Democratic convention session, implied as much in impromptu comments before he prayed. “Surely the Lord is in this place,” declared “Daddy” King. “Surely the Lord has sent Jimmy Carter to come out and bring America back to where it belongs.” Carter, 51, and his wife were at King’s side when he asserted that God was in Madison Square Garden, and both said “Amen.”

The black preacher sounded almost a revival note in helping to bring the convention to an end. He exhorted the Democrats to make real the surface unity evident throughout the proceedings. “If you have an unforgiving heart, get on your knees,” he said.

Misgivings in the liberal wing of the party were partly overcome with Carter’s selection of Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota as his running mate. Mondale, 48, is the son of a Methodist minister, and he and his family are members of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in Washington. The church is affiliated with both the United ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.