As time goes by, it becomes increasingly clear that a major portion of the Tea Party movement is focused on religious aims as well as fiscal ones. Jonathon Kay covered the National Tea Party Convention for the Frum Forum. He expressed dismay at the level of Christian rhetoric he witnessed:
I think the one thing that really did surprise me was the high level of explicitly Christian social conservatism on display here. One of the “breakout sessions” featured a speech from Pastor Rick Scarborough — who is most famous for trying to get America’s preachers more politicized. After his speech, a middle-aged female delegate with a twang stood up and said, during the Q&A, “All the media types are asking us why we’re here. Here’s what I say. We’re all here for a little R&R — revival and revolt. If you’re not a Christian, and a person of faith, you just can’t understand what we’re doing!!” She got a standing ovation.(1)
The South Atlanta Tea Party organized a breakfast for pastors on May 12, 2010. Keynote speakers were Ken Fletcher of the Alliance Defense Fund and Gary DeMar of American Vision Action. According to The Citizen, “Topics at the prayer 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.” The organizer of the breakfast, Claudia Eisenberg was delighted with the outcome of the event. She defended the Tea Party hosting such an event. Eisenberg, “felt such a venue was appropriate for the pro-American, pro-freedom, pro-Constitution tea party movement.” When questioned further, Eisenberg said,
I feel like there is a sleeping giant in our country. And it’s the church. The church was silent when prayer was removed from our schools. The white churches were silent during the civil rights movement. And the church has been largely silent for much of the time on abortion and gay marriage. I think the government has silencd the churches by making them file as tax-exempt organizations,” Eisenberg said. So today, either the churches don’t want to speak out or can’t speak out. My hope was that the speakers could help awaken the sleeping giant. let us know that you don’t have to live in fear when speaking out.(2)
Some Christians are sure we are on the verge of another Great Awakening. But with statements by the Tea Party like, “Gun ownership is sacred,” we can only speculate at what sort of “awakening” is really taking place.(3)
1.Jonathan Kay, FrumForum, 2/5/10. http://www.frumforum.com/getting-religious-at-the-tea-party-convention. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
2. Ben Nelms. May 11. 8, 2010. “ Tea Party Group Holds Pastors’ Breakfast.” The Citizen. http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/05-18-2010/tea-party-group-holds-pastors-breakfast. Retrieved June 29, 2010.