Another Example of How the Religious Right and Tea Party Are Melding into One Political Movement

by Dan Quinn

Tea party activists like to argue that they simply want a small government that doesn’t intrude on the freedoms of Americans. But that’s hard to do believe when you see tea party and religious-right activists marching together with locked arms.

Consider, for example, Rick Scarborough, head of the religious-right group Vision America, which is based in the East Texas town of Lufkin. Scarborough has worked to tie the tea party and religious-right movements together. In fact, he created Tea Party Unity, a project of Vision America, “to provide services and recognition to Tea Parties across the nation, and to help build a tsunami of grassroots activism that will restore our nation to her Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Today’s Tea Party Unity e-newsletter promotes an essay by Lee Duigon, a contributing editor for the Chalcedon Foundation. Chalcedon, founded in 1965 by the late Rousas John Rushdoony, promotes Christian Reconstructionism. That radical movement advocates for a theocratic government and a society based on libertarian economics. Mother Jones has described the movement as “an obscure but increasingly potent theology whose top exponents hold that Christian crusaders must conquer and convert the world, by the sword if necessary, before Jesus will return.”

In short, Christian Reconstructionism is the religious right on steroids. Its advocates are so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Chalcedon Foundation as an anti-gay hate group that advocates for executing gay people and seeks to impose Old Testament law on America. Rushdoony, the SPLC reports, also rejected interracial marriage and denied the Holocaust.

The essay Tea Party Unity is promoting today is a screed attacking what Duigon calls the two pillars of liberalism. Both pillars, Duigon writes, ” are faith statements”:

“First, liberalism is a faith, a belief, that man is perfectible by man. If only the government is made big enough, and powerful enough; if only enough money is raised by taxation; if only the right experts (the liberals themselves) are put in charge, and everyone obeys them: well, then, everything is going to be hunky-dory…. The second pillar of liberalism is that there is no God, or, at best, a God who is not involved in earthly doings and doesn’t mind if we ignore Him.”

Liberalism based on these pillars seeks the power of government coercion, Duigon argues:

“The fact that these enterprises, when pursued vigorously, always seem to end up with piles of dead bodies and miles of barbed wire fouling up the landscape makes no impression on progressives. But the uncommitted person may want to take a long, hard look at history.”

What a vile argument, especially coming from the spokesman for an organization that has advocated for government to kill gay people and was founded by someone who denied that the Nazis murdered millions of Jews. But Duigon is the kind of extremist whose ideas Rick Scarborough wants tea party activists to read.