The Secret Service Used This Code Name To Refer To Jimmy Carter

The Secret Service develops code names for every U.S. president and their family members, ones 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, for instance, and John F. Kennedy was called "Lancer" because folks analogized him and his administration to the knight Lancelot from Arthurian legend, as Reader's Digest says. Dick Cheney's nickname "Angler" represented his interest in fly fishing and also his ability to spin United States' foreign policy such as the war in Iraq, and Bill Clinton's half-brother Robert Clinton was humorously named "Headache" because that's what he, with a history of cocaine use, was to the Secret Service, per Vanity Fair.

President Jimmy Carter, however, received a more reverent nickname, so to speak. According to Reader's Digest, the Secret Service referred to President Carter as "Deacon" because of his longstanding dedication to the Baptist church. Deacons, for the uninitiated, are officials in churches who share the ministry and governance of a congregation. Historically,  they're responsible for practical and charitable functions within the Christian community, and the position can also come with responsibilities like preaching, blessing marriages, and officiating at funerals and burials. While Jimmy Carter never held any official clerical position, he taught Sunday School since the 1980s, even through a bout of melanoma in 2015, as CNN reports. He taught all the way to the age of 98 but has had to stop due to declining health.

Carter's work with the church

"Deacon" was the perfect title for President Jimmy Carter. Prior to taking office in 1977 , President Carter was not only the nation's most presidentially-inclined peanut farmer but a dedicated Christian, as The Washington Post explains. Carter's home church, Maranatha Baptist Church Plains in Plains, Georgia — a hop, skip, and jump away from the hand-built house President Carter has lived in since 1961 (per CNBC) — contains link after link related to the former president. It also, in light of President Carter's recent turn to hospice care, sadly states on its top banner that he will not be teaching Sunday School until further notice. 

President Carter's classes were very well-attended while in session. CNN has footage of President Carter's disarming, charming, and very Christian disposition on display at the interactive start of a class, while The Washington Post describes attendees lining up like pilgrims as early as 5:45 in the morning to attend a 10:00 lecture. After the lecture attendees were allowed to pose with the former president and his wife for a photo, under the supervision of the Secret Service. Former presidents, it should be noted, receive Secret Service protection for life.

President Carter's Sunday lesson described in The Washington Post focused on the New Testament book of Galatians, mixed with Jesus' parable from Matthew 20: 1 – 16 describing equal compensation amongst workers in a vineyard. The message, in keeping with President Carter's post-presidential career and work, focused on peace and humanitarianism. 

Post-presidential humanitarianism

President Jimmy 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. As he wrote in his 2018 book, "Faith: A Journey for All," "I believe now, more than then, that Christians are called to plunge into the life of the world ... and to inject the moral and ethical values of our faith into the processes of governing."

True to his religious background and the presidential nickname "Deacon," President Carter worked relentlessly in humanitarian and human rights circles since his presidency ended in 1981. The former president has done much of his work through The Carter Center, focusing on two major sets of programs: peace and health. The Guinea Worm Eradication Program, for instance, has all but completely eliminated worldwide cases of Guinea Worm, a painful type of parasite that gestates in the human abdomen and needs to be physically tugged out from a person's body — usually from the feet or legs per the CDC. The Conflict Resolution Program disseminates peaceful ideologies through global regions likely to see violent upheaval, including Syria, Mali, and Sudan. President Carter has also worked with Habitat for Humanity, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, and he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. 

Aside from his religiously-themed nickname "Deacon," the Secret Service also granted President Carter the moniker "Lock Master," per NBC New York. The reasons are unspecified.