Surprise: Tea Party is about promoting ‘churches and the Bible’?
The Citizen’s Page A12 contained the article: “Tea party holds pastors breakfast.” The subject didn’t seem that strange to me. After all, we look for our political allies where we can and it’s no secret most Tea Partiers are Republican and less of a secret the Republicans are beholden to conservative religious whackos.
My real “aha” moment came with this quote from the South Atlanta Tea party organizer Cindy Fallon: “... Hopefully, events like this will get people in churches more involved so they can be more knowledgeable. We need to promote churches and the Bible in the affairs of this nation.”
Well, knock me over with a feather! It appears at least the local tea party is not only about limiting government, about limiting its power to tax and spend, its power to regulate, its effect on the lives of its citizens.
It appears this local Tea Party’s agenda is the imposition of tax-supported religion, their brand of tax-supported religion, on all of our society.
“Topics at the breakfast included the threats to religious freedom and the persecution of the church, restoring the church to its biblical foundations and America’s Christian heritage.” This is great stuff. Not only does the South Atlanta Tea Party steal an agenda, but they go for the persecuted Christian home run.
This theme runs through the ultra-right Christian conservative agenda. They can’t use our public funds to promote their idea of Christianity so they are therefore persecuted. By grafting this message onto an energized, ill-defined, anti-intellectual movement like the Tea Party, people like Mrs. Fallon hope to advance their own extremist agenda to force religion down the throats of the American people.
While we can’t blame the entire Tea Party movement for the misplaced religious zealotry demonstrated here, I think Rand Paul’s comments concerning the Civil Rights Act this week illustrative of the weakness of this crusade.
Not only are its edges ill-defined, the Tea Party lacks a solid political philosophy. Instead, Tea Party adherents substitute anger as its raison d’etre. From that point every individual can fill in the blanks and Mrs. Fallon has apparently filled hers in with imposed Christianity.
Rand Paul, on the other hand, seems the usual libertarian with a lot of notions about how things ought to be and little practical solution to a world complicated by people.
For Mrs Fallon I have a little advice: read about the life of Jean Cauvin (John Calvin). Read about the Catholic Inquisition in Spain and Italy. Read about Henry VIII and his violent seizure of the established church, its proponents and property. Read about Mohammed and his pillage of ancient Christianity. Read about Suleiman’s murderous spree in the Balkans. Read about Francis I, Louis XIV and the Huguenots. Read about Reinhard Heydrich, the Wannsee Conference and “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”
Having done so, I believe, she will realize this is not merely a pedantic exercise but a historical perspective on “persecution of the church.”
People’s inability to use public funds to advance their particular brand of faith somehow just doesn’t seem to qualify in the same category as burning heretics, much less establishing a Treblinka, Sobibor or Auschwitz.
As for the tea party, unless it can define its message, the movement might as well call itself “The Pissed Off Party” because that seems to be what everybody has in common. I certainly am, but mostly with slow drivers in the left lane.
Timothy J. Parker
Peachtree City, Ga.