WASHINGTON — Former president Jimmy Carter has severed ties with the Southern Baptist Church, citing the group’s refusal to ordain women as the reason for his decision. Carter has been an active member of the Southern Baptist Church for six decades.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population,” Carter tells The Age website. “We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.”

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