Polls show a significant minority of Americans voice support for the Tea Party, an anti-government movement tied closely to a variety of right-wing funders, lobbyists and causes. Whether or not we agree with them on specifics, we don’t doubt that there are civic-minded Tea Partiers frustrated about what they see as over-reaching government. But it has become clear that the Tea Party movement is tied more and more to religious and political extremists. The newest example is an online rant by Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips against, believe it or not, the United Methodist Church. Writing in a blog post on Sunday, Phillips attacks the church for its support of immigration reform and allegedly a “social justice manifesto [that] is like reading a socialist wish list”:
“They want amnesty, they want ‘economic justice’, they opposed ‘global climate change’ (earth to the Methodists, man isn’t doing it), fighting global poverty (here is another hint, most poverty is caused by a lack of freedom and lack of a free enterprise system). Not shockingly, the Methodists side with the Islamists against Israel, and of course oppose America in Iraq.”
Phillips says his dream is “no more United Methodist Church,” a church he lumps in with “Socialists, Communists and Marxists”:
“In short, if you hate America, you have a great future in the Methodist church.”
So says one of the “patriots” of a Tea Party movement whose supporters claim to be “taking back our country.” The closer one looks at the Tea Party movement, the clearer it becomes just what kind of country they really want America to be.