Baptists around the world celebrated the naming of Jimmy Carter as the 2002 Nobel Peace laureate.
“Baptists all over the world asked us to forward letters of congratulations to Mr. Carter,” said Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. “All of them mentioned his strong Christian witness and how it contributed to their witness overseas in a minority setting where Baptists are often unknown or suffering persecution.” <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Theo Angelov, general secretary of the European Baptist Federation, said, “We are very delighted that the panel has chosen someone with his qualities for this award. We are also glad that they have chosen a Baptist.”
Identifying Carter as a longtime friend of European Baptists, Angelov said, “The President visited <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Albania in 1991 and was highly instrumental in helping us further the causes of human rights and religious freedom in that country.”
“Many of our countries have been marginalized religiously, and Mr. Carter has helped us bring some of our issues to the world stage,” Angelov said.
Jason Das, president, and Bonny Resu, general secretary of the Asian Baptist Federation, wrote Carter, saying, “We believe that the Nobel Peace Prize accorded to you is a recognition of the values that you represent.”
They asked Carter to look into religious intolerance in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India.
Kenyan Douglas Waruta, a BWA vice-president, congratulated Carter and called him “a Global Baptist Citizen.”
One Southern Baptist state paper editor congratulated Carter.
William Neal, editor of Georgia’s Christian Index, wrote that Carter was “greatly deserving of this honor in light of his many efforts over a long period of time to promote peace.”
Neal said, “It was refreshing to see the secular media talk about how Christianity has greatly influenced Carter’s position as a peacemaker.”