US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Should Christians be a part of the Tea Party?

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Catholics like to say that they are at home in neither the Democratic nor Republican Party, but Tea Party is not any better for Catholics or other Christians.

According to a new study, a significant percentage of the Tea Party might conservative Christians, but the Tea Party is not the new religious right. While Republicans once rallied conservative Christians around social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, the Tea Party ignores these issues in favor of economic issues. And as this article from Catholic News Service points out Christians' "beliefs on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage...are at odds with the movement's libertarian, no-government-intrusion image."

In a Religion & Ethics piece on the same study, Rev. Richard Cizik (who is famous in evangelical cycles for introducing the concern for the environment and poor into their national political agenda, though he didn't last long doing so) is concerned that evangelicals are being used: "What I want is a society and a government and its policies to reflect the values I find in scripture-religious freedom, caring for the poor, caring about justice for all, caring about the least of these. But that's not what you hear from Tea Party leadership," he says. "They'll take those evangelical votes, and then they will walk away from those people as quickly as a bat of an eye."

For Catholics specifically, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo argued on Washington Post's On Faith this summer that a Catholic should think twice about joining the Tea Party because of the question of "whether or not membership contributes to a culture of violence." He's uneasy about the connections to the NRA and the racism of some (not all) members.

While Tea Party Catholics might have a patron in Father Juan de Mariana, who advocated overthrowing tyranny of foreigners and Protestant kings, Stevens-Arroyo notes that the current U.S. government was elected by a majority of citizens and is not a tyranny. Of course the Tea Party can have an influence at the polls, but it seems clear that Catholics still won't be completely at home in any party.