I have had conversations, some on this blog, with Atheist Libertarian friends who have embraced the tea party movement as a means to further the political fortunes of their champion, Congressman Ron Paul. I suggested to my friends that they pay some attention to those making up the bulk of the tea party movement, with whom Libertarian Atheists have only the most tenuous common ground. Atheists just don’t have a whole lot in common with the rural, southern, Christian fundamentalists that make up the bulk of the tea party constituency, to whom “liberty” means the freedom to write Christian moral imperatives into the laws of the United States.
I suggested to them that the “movement” would tolerate them only as long as it needed them, and that they would be the first group purged when the tea partiers obtained a degree of national importance. Now, it seems that what I warned them about during the summer is about to come true, at least the seeds are being sown. It appears that the tea party movement is being hijacked by the remnants of the religious right, in exactly the same manner they hijacked the Republican Party itself twenty-five years ago.
The first national tea party convention is coming up next month in Nashville, and Michelle Goldberg (Kingdom Coming, Means of Reproduction) has written a piece for The American Prospect that talks about the conference and speculates on the direction of the movement:
“Next month’s Tea Party National Convention has been making news for the fat fee Sarah Palin is commanding — $100,000, according to many reports. But the gathering, to be held at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel, is interesting for another reason as well: It marks the attempt of the old-school Christian right to take over the tea-party movement. Speakers joining Palin include Rick Scarborough, Roy Moore, and Joseph Farah, men who are radical even by religious-right standards. Their presence shows that the tea-party movement is no longer merely populist, libertarian, or anti-government, if it ever was. It is theocratic. Indeed, after several months in which the religious right seemed lost and dispirited, it has found a way to ride the tea-party express into renewed relevance.”
This is kind of an interesting development, actually, for someone who has followed the theocratic movement as closely as I have for the past several years. This crew, including Palin, is little but a gathering of right-wing Christian extremists who would love to see this truly become the Christian nation they already believe it is.
About Rick Scarborough, Ms. Goldberg writes:
“The author of books like In Defense of … Mixing Church and State and the pithier Liberalism Kills Kids, Scarborough spent the Bush years organizing conferences that brought together conservative Republicans with preachers and activists working for the imposition of biblical law.” (Emphasis mine.)
Scarborough is almost mainstream, though, when you compare him to Roy Moore, as Ms. Goldberg continues:
“This is a man, after all, whose judicial opinions seem to sanction the execution of gay people. In a 2002 decision awarding custody of three children to their allegedly abusive father over their lesbian mother, he wrote that homosexuality is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated.” The state, he wrote, ‘carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children towards this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.’” (Emphasis mine)
“Confinement and even execution!” For gay people! In the United States of America! This is the same Roy Moore who authored the infamous “Constitution Restoration Act of 1995” that, if passed, would have made it impossible to challenge any act by a state or federal official if such act was a result of the officials interpretation of “god’s word.”
Farah is the founder of the right-wing whacko web site World Net Daily, a platform from which he spews his daily ration of conspiracy theories and Christian bullshit. He spurned CPAC this year ‘cause they wouldn’t let him chair a panel investigating President Obama’s eligibility to hold his office, due to his birth circumstances. That’s right, this jerk is a birther!
That about wraps it up for the teabaggers, Palin and the three Christian extremists. Four theocrats hijacking the astroturf movement that had a large Libertarian component. Actually, Ron Paul himself would not be too out-of-place in this crowd, as he also is convinced that the United States was founded on Christian principals. I’m sure he would not object to seeing more of those principals enacted into law.
“For those who oppose the right, all this offers cause for both hope and alarm. Neither the tea parties nor Sarah Palin are likely to expand their appeal by association with the most bellicose of religious reactionaries. Some have speculated that a third party may emerge from the Nashville convention, an outcome that can only benefit Democrats in upcoming elections. But we’ve now reached a point where CPAC, a conference whose co-sponsors include The John Birch Society, represents a comparatively moderate sector of the GOP. That may turn out to be bad for the Republicans, but it’s even worse for America.”