Did former President Jimmy Carter chastise American Christians with a rebuke that starts: "STOP saying that you want a country based on Christian values"? No, that's not true: According to comedian and creator of the quote, John Fugelsang, the saying has been misattributed to President Carter since 2013. The Carter Center also told Lead Stories that they "have no record of this quote from President Carter."
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on October 10, 2021. The text above, an image of former President Carter, reads:
"If you don't want your tax dollars to help the poor, then STOP saying that you want a country based on Christian Values, Because you don't...!!"
This is what the Facebook post looked like on October 12, 2021:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Oct 12 21:11:27 2021 UTC)
Although former President Jimmy Carter is known for being a devout Christian, he did not say it.
A Google search using the exact quote in the post reveals that the line was written by John Fugelsang, a comedian, actor, and broadcaster.
The February 6, 2014, tweet located via the Google search features an image of Fugelsang and the quote, followed by text that reads, "(not Jimmy Carter)."
If you don't want your tax $ helping the poor stop saying you want a govt based on Christian values. #p2 pic.twitter.com/Ih1ZWHEmWn-- John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) February 7, 2014
A review of Fugelsang's Twitter account displays an October 1, 2018, tweet wherein he comments on a repost of the quote featuring Carter stating:
It's true that this quote of mine has been widely misattributed to Jimmy Carter but if it gets him groupies I can't complain.
An even older September 12, 2013, tweet shows Fugelsang in a photo of himself featuring the quote from his website saying:
This quote was widely attributed to Jimmy Carter. I apologize to him for it.
Lead Stories reached out to The Carter Center to find out if former President Carter has ever said it. In an October 12, 2021, email, Director of Communications Deanna Congileo responded:
We have no record of this quote from President Carter.