The so-called “Tea Party” movement has claimed the last couple of years to be focused on shrinking government. But often the intolerant rhetoric of its leaders betrays such claims as terribly disingenuous. Case in point: Dallas Tea Party leader Phillip Dennis’ televised attacks on the faith of President Obama and on Muslims this week.
MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews asked Dennis whether he thinks President Obama is a Muslim. Dennis apparently couldn’t help himself, replying, “I don’t know.”
Pressed further by Matthews, Dennis said:
“If he’s a Christian, I certainly don’t like the brand of Christianity he went to in Chicago for 20 years.”
Then he criticized the president for “reaching out to Muslims”:
“President Obama certainly has a soft spot in his heart for Islam.”
Dennis also attacked Islam, smearing all Muslims for the actions of extremists, before once again questioning the president’s clear and repeated statements that he is a Christian:
“I have a big problem with Islam. It calls itself the religion of peace when everyday it continues around the world to show itself to be anything but. So I think those people [who question President Obama’s faith] have a right. Certainly it’s understandable that they might have a problem that our president might be Muslim. Absolutely.”
We have pointed out before that the Tea Party movement in Texas often marches alongside the intolerant religious right. Dennis’ disgraceful statements simply reinforce our point.
(Hat tip: Talking Points Memo)