How The Secret Service Chose President Jimmy Carter's Code Name

The Secret Service develops code names for every U.S. president and their family members. The code names can be representative of the president's values and lifestyle. President Ronald Reagan was known as Rawhide because of his appreciation for ranching and appearances in multiple Western films, and John F. Kennedy was called Lancer because of associations with the Arthurian legend of Camelot and the knight Lancelot via Reader's Digest). 

But for President Jimmy Carter, the Secret Service chose a different kind of name. According to Reader's Digest, they called him Deacon because of his longstanding interest and dedication to the Baptist church. Deacons are officials in churches who share the ministry and governance of a congregation (via Britannica). Historically, they've been responsible for practical and charitable functions of the Christian community. The position can come with responsibilities like preaching, blessing marriages, and officiating at funerals and burials.

Carter also had a second code name. Along with Deacon, he was also known by the Secret Service as Lock Master (per NBC New York).

What was Carter's work like with the church?

The title made sense for President Carter. He was a dedicated Christian prior to taking office (via The Washington Post). After his presidency, Carter even went on to teach Sunday School for a number of years at Maranatha Baptist Church Plains.

According to Maranatha Baptist Church Plains, President Carter will not be teaching Sunday School until further notice. But while the sessions were happening, they were well-attended. Previous attendees have submitted their memories of the events and shared lessons they learned from President Carter's teaching.

Carter was noteworthy for being openly religious and pushing for the importance of faith alongside Democratic initiatives like universal healthcare and lowered military spending (via America Magazine). He pushed for Christians to involve themselves in politics and bring faith and religious values into the conversation. Even after his presidency, Carter has continued to do humanitarian work and push for human rights improvements.