Former President Jimmy Carter recently penned dramatic columns for The Guardian and The Age, leading some people to believe that he's leaving the Southern Baptist Convention for the first time.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

But Carter actually made the decision to leave the SBC back in 2000, even though he did not have an official role in the 16-million-member denomination.

In his Guardian op-ed, titled "The words of God do not justify cruelty to women," the former President condemns gender inequality among all religions:

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.
Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.

Southern Baptist Joe Carter humorously responds to the born-again President's apparent departure at First Thoughts, a First Things blog:

For decades we Southern Baptists have been trying to trade him to the Methodists, though they've persistently refused the terms (in exchange for taking the former POTUS off our hands we've offered to throw in three pews, a parking lot in Dallas, and a signed copy of Billy Graham's autobiography).

As Joe Carter notes, Jimmy Carter still serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at his home church in Plains, Georgia, Maranatha Baptist Church, which is still affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. (Check out the FAQ page where Carter is mentioned 12 times).

On a more serious note, the former President addresses the injustices of women across the globe.

The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.
At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime.

It seems odd that Carter would compare not ordaining women with genital mutilation. Evangelicals are deeply divided over women's ordination, but does Carter's argument work? Do Christian leaders who oppose women's ordination lay the groundwork for systemic injustice against women?