Onward Christian 'Teavangelicals'
Despite the tea party's well-known fiscal focus, the anti-tax budget-slashing movement's most underappreciated energy source may be its evangelical Christians.
I suspected as much when I attended a couple of early tea party rallies. News coverage focused on the signs, speeches and slogans that promoted free markets, fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. But my conversations with participants revealed another widely shared agenda: Stop abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the other social evils in the eyes of the religious right.
Along with numerous profiles and interviews, Brody recounts polls like a 2010
For example, the
Whether you agree with their social views or not (I don't), it is fair to say that with attitudes like that, the tea party doesn't sound so new. Their social conservatism sounds much like the religious right of
The tea party movement emerged mostly from grassroots libertarian activism, and it endures with the help of big dollars from backers like the
That's OK if your movement is led by a talented coalition builder like Reagan. But sharp differences on social issues, Brody observes, pose a potential threat to the movement's long-term unity.
After all, the movement's more secular tax-fighters tend to lean more live-and-let-live libertarian across the board, including on hot-button social issues like abortion rights, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization that the religious right so passionately opposes.
So, what holds the coalition together now? Well, there is You-Know-Who. The guy in the
That's a big deal. President
Which made me wonder whether Obama or Romney will pull off a similar appeal to religious conservatives this year. I asked Brody in a later email exchange how he thought teavangelicals would respond if the president resumed a theme that he pushed as a candidate in 2008. In a high-profile speech at a black church, he won big applause with a strong appeal for marriage before parenthood, personal responsibility and responsible parenting.
Sure, the Rev.
Brody was intrigued by the suggestion. "I think if President Obama did a speech like that it would make teavangelical voters wonder why Romney hasn't done the same," he wrote. While a speech like that wouldn't win a lot of white teavangelicals, it could endear him a bit more with independents and "African-American teavangelical voters" and "actually make Romney look weaker in this area."
Maybe. It is a speech that may not happen, but I'd like to cover it if it did.
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Onward Christian 'Teavangelicals' | Politics
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