ATLANTA (AP) -- Former President Carter -- a Sunday school teacher since he was 18 years old -- said he is cutting ties with the Southern Baptist Convention because he finds it increasingly rigid in its views on the role of women.
"My grandfather, my father and I have always been Southern Baptists, and for 21 years since the first political division took place in the Southern Baptist Convention, I have maintained that relationship. I feel I can no longer in good conscience do that," Carter said.
Southern Baptists make up the nation's largest Protestant denomination, claiming 15.9 million members.
At its annual meeting in June, the group declared that women should no longer serve as pastors.
"I'm familiar with the verses they have quoted about wives being subjugated to their husbands," said Carter, 76. "In my opinion, this is a distortion of scripture. I personally feel the Bible says all people are equal in the eyes of God."
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