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Former President Jimmy Carter also has experience dealing with Iran. And that was the focus of his Sunday school lesson this morning, which he taught in his hometown of Plains, Ga. He's been teaching Sunday school much of his adult life. This morning, before a crowd of more than 500, President Carter began his lesson with a compliment for President Trump. From member station WABE in Atlanta, Emma Hurt has this story.
JAN WILLIAMS: OK, we're fixing to have a meeting. Come on.
EMMA HURT, BYLINE: The sun has barely risen in Plains. It's a town of over 700 people, and 400 out-of-towners are half-awake, standing around in the parking lot of Maranatha Baptist church. They came from all over the world. Many slept here overnight in their cars. The first arrived at 8 p.m.
WILLIAMS: All right. My name is Jan Williams, and I'm here this morning to give you some instructions. Before, we've got to get in line, OK?
HURT: Jan is keeping everyone organized. They're all here to see President Carter teach Sunday school. Andy Oliver is a pastor from Florida.
ANDY OLIVER: As polarized as our country is right now, I wanted to come hear a president that believes peace is possible even among the most vicious of enemies.
HURT: Carter's scripture lessons often weave in current events, and today was no exception. Here's his opening line.
JIMMY CARTER: I agree with President Trump on his decision not to take military action against Iran. I had a lot of problems with Iran when I was in office.
HURT: Like the hostage crisis that dominated his final year in the White House. He recalled they were embassy staff he had sent to try to make peace with the new Islamic Republic. Indeed, peace has been elusive for almost all of American history, he said. Though, ironically, he pointed out, it's fundamental to Christianity.
CARTER: We're supposed to be a, quote, "Christian nation," are we not? But we're known throughout the world as the most warlike country on earth.
HURT: Carter suggested peace as a choice and again praised the one made by President Trump. But, he said, it's not just for governments to worry about. It's a choice for people to make, too.
For NPR News, I'm Emma Hurt in Plains, Ga.
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