Tea Party: Religious Right In Disguise

The Christian Science Monitor exposes what we already knew–the Tea Party is just the newest name for the far right base of the Republican Party, and this means that it is just the religious right in disguise.

In Oklahoma and South Dakota, tea party lawmakers have proposed strict antiabortion bills. Montana has challenged gay rights, and Indiana recently passed a bill that would outlaw same-sex unions. At the national level, congressional Republicans fought to the 11th hour on April 8 to cut federal funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood and to ban foreign aid to countries that would use funding for family planning services.

In Texas, the first few weeks of the legislative session this year were spent passing measures like a controversial bill requiring women to have a sonogram before undergoing an abortion. The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Dan Patrick, chairs the Legislature’s tea party caucus.

“Social issues are coming up because they’re easier to pass,” says Sean Theriault, a political scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. “And there are huge [Republican] margins in the Texas House, so if there was ever a time to pass this kind of legislation, it’s now.”

Clearly, the tea party’s small-government mantra resonates with conservatives – including those who do not share libertarian views on social issues. A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed more than 40 percent of tea party supporters identify as Christian conservative, and nearly 60 percent said abortion should be illegal.

But in Texas, the tea party is indistinguishable from the religious right, in many respects. During last November’s race for speaker of the state House, tea party groups targeted incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, a Jewish Republican, saying they wanted to replace him with what one legislator called a “true Christian” leader.

This focus on social issues is alienating the tea party’s libertarian supporters, some of whom predicted the religious right would try to co-opt the movement. “I want to build on our success, not ruin the coalition by bringing ‘God’s will’ into it,” Maine Tea Party Patriots’ coordinator Andrew Ian Dodge, a leading libertarian voice, told Newsweek last year.

It is a concern for the tea party. According to a recent Monitor/TIPP poll, 26 percent of respondents said their opinions of the tea party had worsened since November. Some 11 percent said their opinions had improved, and 57 percent reported no change.

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6 Comments

  1. 1
    Winter_Thur says:

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  2. 2
    Xerxes Sexinheimer says:

    RT @ronchusid: Tea Party: Religious Right In Disguise #p2 #p21 #topprog http://is.gd/nrZxDK // Under white sheets & SS uniforms. #p21 #p2

  3. 3
    Arthur McGowan says:

    RT @RonChusid: Tea Party: Religious Right In Disguise #p2 #p21 #topprog http://is.gd/nrZxDK

  4. 5
    Len Richardson says:

    Tea Party: Religious Right In Disguise Liberal Values: Arthur McGowan: RT @RonChusid : Tea Party: Religious Righ… http://bit.ly/h7vZ0Z

  5. 6
    Ben Grivno says:

    #MemeTracker: Witness Lib @RonChusid Spread the False Meme That the #TeaParty is the "Religious Right in Disguise" http://goo.gl/I0E9s

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