Carter credited Allen's help in an address to about 260 guests at a Georgia event introducing a new biography by McAfee School of Theology professor Larry McSwain titled Loving beyond Your Theology: The Life and Ministry of Jimmy Raymond Allen. The former president said he came to the realization years later as he listened to his long-time minister friend respond in a meeting with African-American Baptist leaders to the question, "When did you first meet Jimmy Carter?"
"I began to realize that when I first came to Texas -- I had won in Iowa and New Hampshire and Florida -- that I was a forlorn, woeful, forgotten, hopeless candidate for president," Carter said. "Until I met Jimmy Allen -- he was pastor of the First Baptist Church in San Antonio -- and he took me under his arm."
"He was reluctant to get involved in politics," Carter said, "but he remembered that I said I was a born-again Christian."
"He pointed out that he wasn't really supporting me," Carter said. "He was supporting the right of somebody to say they are a born-again Christian. So he endorsed me."
Although Allen wasn't an official spokesman for Texas Baptists, Carter said, "because of the introduction and endorsement I got in San Antonio, Texas turned around."
For all the grief we've given about the political influence within the SBC---we are capable of being guilty of the same.