With recent attempts to portray tea-party members as racist backfiring, a renewed attack is being launched, warns the author of “The Tea Party Manifesto,” and this one is from progressive Christians who claim the movement lacks Christlike charity.
Just as the racism accusation from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People proved groundless before it deteriorated into an embarrassing public-relations disaster that encompassed the White House, says Joseph Farah, author of the “Manifesto,” no one should accept the latest salvo as gospel either.
Federal welfare programs are “coercively taking money from people and redistributing to other people, which, at the end of the day, is legalized stealing,” Religion News Service recently quoted Farah as saying. “And the Bible is pretty firm on stealing. … When Jesus talks about clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, he’s talking to us as individuals. [The Bible doesn’t] suggest that government is the institution that he designed to help the poor.”
Progressive Christians with ties to the Obama administration – whose policies of government expansion over private-sector industries gave rise, in part, to the tea-party groups – characterized the movement as unbiblical.
“I think that the general ideology of the tea party is not a Christian one,” said David Gushee, co-founder of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. “This kind of small-government libertarianism, small-taxes, leave-me-alone-to-live-my-life ideology has more in common with Ayn Rand than it does with the Bible.”
In one of his regular columns on the Huffington Post, Gushee wrote, “I believe that extending health-care access to every American was always the right goal and reflects the moral commitments of the Christian faith.”
Gushee’s biography boasts of being “contacted by candidate Barack Obama and remain(ing) in conversation with the religious-affairs office of the Obama administration.”
The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Washington-based social-justice group Sojourners and a key member of Obama’s faith council, is “even blunter in his assessment of the tea party’s approach to giving,” reports Religion News Service.
“The libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue,” he wrote on his blog, God’s Politics. “Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition.”
How “Christian virtue” and “the common good” jibe with Wallis’ own documented radical associations and stances, including support of violent extremists, oppressive regimes and anti-American sentiment, warrants examination, critics say.
While the Associated Press described him as a “politically progressive evangelical,” Wallis reportedly served as Michigan leader of the Students for a Democratic Society – out of which Bill Ayers’ domestic-terrorist group the Weather Underground sprouted.
Wallis’ magazine Sojourners, reports WND, “actively lobbied for communist regimes that seized power in Latin America in the late 1970s.” His 1976 book “Agenda of Biblical People” called America “the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life, the great master of humanity and history in its totalitarian claims and designs.”
Wallis got involved early in the racism offensive against the tea party.
“There is something wrong with a political movement like the Tea Party which is almost all white,” he blogged May 27. “Does that mean every member of the tea party is racist? Likely not. But is an undercurrent of white resentment part of the tea party ethos, and would there even be a tea party if the president of the United States weren’t the first black man to occupy that office?”
Farah, who wrote a book as far back as 2003 predicting the circumstances that would foster the tea-party movement, advises resisting attempts to narrow its scope to tax reform and fiscal issues. Subtitled “A Vision for an American Rebirth,” Farah’s “The Tea Party Manifesto” argues for following the Framers’ example in defining the movement’s spiritual core.
With “phase two in the coordinate strike against the tea-party movement attempting to co-opt the language of faith,” Farah warns, “realizing its spiritual moorings is essential not only to the success, but the actual survival, of the movement – and the future of America’s liberty.”