Just like the mainstream media, liberal/progressive 'christians' are desperate to paint grassroots Americans negatively.
-- From "Is The Tea Party Unbiblical?" by Alfredo Garcia, Religion News Service (on the Huffington Post) 7/23/10
When conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck warned churchgoers to "run as fast as you can" if their pastors preach about "social justice," was he also encouraging them to run from the Bible?
That's what some progressive Christian leaders are arguing as battle lines are drawn for the 2010 mid-term elections. They say Beck and his Tea Party followers are, in a word, unbiblical.
Not so fast, say Tea Party activists, who claim biblical grounds for a libertarian-minded Jesus. He didn't like tax-based welfare programs, they say, and encouraged his followers to donate from the heart.
The insurgent Tea Party movement threatens to usurp the political prominence of religious conservatives, whose focus on hot-button social issues has been overshadowed by the Tea Party's fight against big government.
[David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University and co-founder of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good] described the Tea Party as "an uneasy marriage between the libertarian conservative strand and the Christian right strand" of American politics. In this "uneasy alliance," however, he said the Christian side has taken a backseat to the movement's libertarian impulses.
The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Washington-based social justice group Sojourners, is even blunter in his assessment of the Tea Party's approach to giving.
"The libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue," he wrote on his blog, God's Politics. "Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition."
Lloyd Marcus of Deltona, Fla., a spokesman for the Tea Party Express, is a born-again, nondenominational Christian who says flatly that "Jesus was not for socialism."
Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of the website WorldNetDaily and author of the new "Tea Party Manifesto," agreed.
"When Jesus talks about clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, he's talking to us as individuals," Farah said. The Bible does not "suggest that government is the institution that he designed to help the poor."
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