The Common Good

Rev. Jim Wallis Asks: Is the Tea Party Christian?

Source: Sojourners
Date: October 21, 2010


Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Rev. Jim Wallis Asks: Is the Tea Party Christian?

WASHINGTON - Just in time for the election, one of the nation's leading public theologians analyzes what some Tea Partiers think about God and why it will matter on Election Day.

One in four Christian conservatives claim to be a part of the Tea Party movement, according to a recent survey, but Sojourners President Jim Wallis gives seven reasons that Jesus might not sign up among their ranks.

In the just-released November issue of Sojourners, Wallis offers a Christian critique of the libertarian political philosophy that has informed much of the Tea Party movement.

"The libertarian beatitude, 'Blessed are those who are just left alone' has still not joined those in the Sermon on the Mount,” Wallis said.

A recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 64 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party believe that it is "not that big of a problem if some people have more of a chance than others in life.” It's hard to imagine that Jesus would feel the same way.

On the role of government and taxes Wallis writes, "Preserving social order, punishing evil and rewarding good, and protecting the common good are all prescribed; we are even instructed to pay taxes for those purposes! … To disparage government per se - to see all government as the central problem in society - is simply not a biblical position.”

Supporting Wallis's argument against the self-interested views that the Tea Party is steeped in, the November issue also features "Jesus Shrugged?” a piece by Tim King laying out the contradictions between the writings of Ayn Rand and the Gospel of Jesus.

"To follow her and her vision, one must give up Christ and his cross,” King said.

Also in the new issue:

Hope for Campaign Finance Reform - Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler writes that "money doesn't always win” in light of the summer's progress on financial reform, and "it's time to give democracy back to the voters.”

Stopping the Next Food Crisis - Elizabeth Palmberg argues convincingly that it's time for investors to stop gambling on food commodities, especially when they have the least at stake.

From the Editors (under "WEBextras”) - After readers questioned the decision to place Glenn Beck on the cover of our last issue, the editors at Sojourners explain their decision and say that at times even those such as Beck merit a response.


Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit, and