The Common Good

Evangelicals and the Tea Party

Date: October 2, 2010

Wallis' Sojourners critique is headlined "The Theology of the Tea Party: Can Libertarianism Be Reconciled with Christian Faith?" Lest readers miss the point, the article is accompanied by a critique of the late Ayn Rand, with the headline: "Jesus Shrugged? To Follow Ayn Rand and Her Vision, One Must Give up Christ and His Cross." It accurately describes Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, as a "staunch atheist." But the Wallis/Sojourners attempt to portray Tea Partiers as anti-religious Objectivists is absurd. The recent Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll found that 80 percent of Tea Partiers self-identified as Christian.

In his recent news release, Wallis asked: "Is the Tea Party Christian?" His answer naturally is "no." But he lamented that 25 percent of Evangelicals identify with the Tea Party, obviously referring to the PRRI poll. "The libertarian beatitude, 'Blessed are those who are just left alone' has still not joined those in the Sermon on the Mount," Wallis opined. In his Sojourners piece, Wallis warns that the Tea Party's "political commitments are rooted in the libertarian philosophy" and is a "secular movement, not a Christian one." Wallis's best-selling 2005 book, and his Sojourners' blog, are called God's Politics. The implication is that non-liberal political stances are inherently NOT God's politics.