home
RSS
5 Reasons ‘Teavangelicals’ matter
The cover of the new book "Teavangelicals." by the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.
June 27th, 2012
04:05 PM ET

5 Reasons ‘Teavangelicals’ matter

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) — It’s a match made in political heaven - evangelical Christians and the Tea Party. Starting in 2010, the two huge conservative flanks started coming together, forming what Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political correspondent David Brody calls the "Teavangelical" movement.

Sure, the Tea Party was supposed to be all about money matters, its name an acronym for "taxed enough already." The conventional wisdom was that the group didn’t care much about social issues like gay marriage and abortion – those were the province of evangelicals.

But it turns out that the two groups overlap – a lot. That was one of the takeways from a Wednesday National Press Club panel I sat on that was tied the release of Brody’s new book, “The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America.”

Here are 5 reasons why should care about "Teavangelicals":

1. Remember 2010?

In the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party helped the Republicans take back control of the House of Representatives. And evangelicals made up a big part of that group. According to a September 2010 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, nearly half of self-identified Tea Partiers in 2010 said they were part of the Religious Right or the conservative Christian movement.

2. They might swing the presidential election for Mitt Romney.

Ralph Reed's group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is the prototypical Teavangelical group, working to ensure that the Tea Party and evangelicals play nice together. Reed has long been an evangelical whisper for politicians and Brody writes that he has the cell phone numbers of 13 million evangelical voters. Sounds like a strong ground game.

3. Teavangelicals made the GOP primaries more interesting.

2012 was supposed to be Mitt Romney's year. He’d run once before and the GOP establishment liked him. But he was not an early favorite of the Teavangelicals, who variously rallied around Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. When those politicians talked about the free market and opposing abortion with equal gusto it was music to Teavangelical ears. At the press club panel on Wednesday, National Review columnist Robert Costa said Santorum’s Iowa caucuses win testified to the Teavangelical power.

4. They're planning to stick around for a while.

The Tea Party may have disappeared from national headlines, but they’re active at the grassroots. Brody said that Teavangelicals are winning seats on school boards, city councils, and county commissions. "The Teavangelicals have realized it's nice to get on FOX News and hold up a sign and be on the Sean Hannity show, but that's not going to get it done,” he said. “Ultimately you have to start at the bottom up.” He says small-time local positions are proving grounds for the next generation of GOP leadership.

5. They’ll be a crossword puzzle clue soon.

Brody coined the term Teavangelical the day after the 2010 midterm elections, when we were both at a press conference organized by the Faith and Freedom coalition. Ralph Reed’s involvement means the Teavangelical concept has legs. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes a crossword puzzle clue.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics

soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. Chad

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men Declaration of Independence JULY 4, 1776

    “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of this truth that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ Benjamin Franklin's request for prayer at the Constitutional Convention – 1787

    “Every word of the Constitution decides a question between power and liberty.” “The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.” — James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States

    “The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government.” Joseph Story (1779-1845) Supreme Court Justice & Commentator on the U.S. Constitution

    and on, and on, and on..

    June 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Huebert

      So what? People in the 18th and 19th centuries believed in god almost universally. That is no way evidence for gods existence.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      And your point?????????????????????

      June 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Answer

      "endowed" That is all you want to add? Is this the full sum of your validation of your faith?

      LOL. Just because that word was pressed into your const-i-t-ution doesn't mean a creator is evident. But you don't care.

      For you Chad that means the world to you. The men of the past wanted to cover their a$$ much like you of today. They wanted to have their say and so do you. But does that word hold any valid-i-t-y?

      It does not.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      Masons shared a belief in a great architect of the Universe. What does this have to do with anything????????

      June 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Rick James

      Chad, the US is NOT a Christian nation. If you want a theocracy, move to Iran or ancient Egypt.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      Chad, show me in the Const i t ution where it talks about Christ? Show me in the Dec of Indep where it talks about Christ? Show me in our laws on the books where it talks about the authority of Christ?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • sam

      This again.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Chad

      atheists always strive to create the false dilemma that the US must either be a theocracy, or must ban any public acknowledgement of the God of Abraham by public officials in any way, shape or form. That is a fallacious argument, a false dichotomy.

      Clearly, the quotes from the founding fathers demonstrated that the US was founded on the principle that Government was to keep out of religion, AND if the country was to succeed, it would do so only by acknowledging God, asking for His guidance and receiving His grace.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chad

      The country will do far better once we all realize that god is nothing more than an imaginary friend for grownups.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Answer

      Chad

      Your delusion in reciting old has been failed ideology is ever noticeable. No.

      Your religion will not and will never be a contender to bring about anything – other than hate and wars and famine.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • just sayin

      Chad,

      Your God of Abraham was copied from the Sumerian religion that was established prior to Judaism. Slavery used to be legal and the founding fathers supported this....shall we "return" to the good ole days?. Also, your quotes and our Const it ution have nothing to do with Christ.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • chubby rain

      "...AND if the country was to succeed, it would do so only by acknowledging God, asking for His guidance and receiving His grace."

      Or through technological advancement, using our abundant natural resources efficiently, and keeping our infrastructure intact after the world wars. Where does God fit in?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Oracle

      Chad,

      Many of the founding fathers decried Benjamin Franklin's newly discovered lightning rods as thwarting "God's" will and discipline too.

      http://etb-pseudoscience.blogspot.com/2012/04/lightning-and-enlightenment-ben.html

      June 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @Oracle "Many of the founding fathers decried Benjamin Franklin's newly discovered lightning rods as thwarting "God's" will and discipline too"

      =>mistakenly ascribing to God natural occurrences doesn't mean that God doesn't exist.
      =>In many cases otherwise sound minds can believe crazy things.. after all, there are some folks that believe the universe just popped into being out of nothing, and that the first life forms were spontaneously generated by a random collision of molecules..

      June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Oracle

      Chad,
      "mistakenly ascribing to God natural occurrences doesn't mean that God doesn't exist."

      Perhaps not, but neither does it prove that the founding fathers knew anything about "God's" "grace" or "guidance".

      June 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Chad

      so if someone mistakenly ascribes to God an event, then they are utterly unable to receive guidance and grace?
      lol..
      no.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "atheists always strive to create the false dilemma that the US must either be a theocracy, or must ban any public acknowledgement of the God of Abraham by public officials in any way, shape or form. That is a fallacious argument, a false dichotomy."
      ALWAYS, dumbo? Why are you 'christians' driven by this intense desire to lie about us? You are so incredibly insecure. Of course not every atheist subscribes to this kind of false dichotomy; saying they do is just showing that you yourself subscribe to a similar fallacious theory. Also that you don't expect a god to ever exist and confront you about your lies, but that's your business.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Chad

      @Bible Clown© ALWAYS, dumbo? Why are you 'christians' driven by this intense desire to lie about us? You are so incredibly insecure. Of course not every atheist subscribes to this kind of false dichotomy; saying they do is just showing that you yourself subscribe to a similar fallacious theory"

      =>ok, fair enough, amended as follows
      ""Every atheist that I have ever met or I have ever read postings has always strived to create the false dilemma that the US must either be a theocracy, or must ban any public acknowledgement of the God of Abraham by public officials in any way, shape or form. That is a fallacious argument, a false dichotomy.
      Now, that doesnt mean that every single atheist in the world does that, I'm sure we could find one somewhere that doesnt.. It's just that I have never witnessed one, and the clown that pointed this out to me didnt actually state himself that he didnt buy into that false dichotomy.. but, just to be clear, since it is certainly possible that an atheist exists who doesnt buy into the presentation of that false dichotomy I amended my original statement."

      thanks

      June 28, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  2. Michael in Houston

    Both groups have proven time and time again that their views and their agenda have been and will be rejected by this Country. One group wants a theocracy and the other wants to return to a civil war. They are white and middle aged angry people who frankly depress me to no end everytime they open their mouths and speak. If Palin, Bachmann, Cantor, Rand, McConnell, Ralph Reed, Bachmann, are their idea of leadership they are nothing more then a fringe joke.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  3. v_mag

    These guys on the right really need to get another catch-phrase. Anytime they start talking about "taking back America", most people want to ask, "Where to? The Dark Ages?" Lefties like me want to "move America forward", which sounds a lot more, well, progressive.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Answer

      @v_mag

      Very true on that statement. Only with technology and science do we have a chance to move forward.

      You can not move the world forward with religion.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "You can not move the world forward with religion." Dude, you force me to stick up for the believers. Most medical advances have come from people who were convinced that God was standing at their elbow when they discovered things like the tuberculosis vaccine; they felt that they had been chosen to reveal a previously unknown and intricate part of God's grand design. Pasteur saved millions in his own lifetime and set other researchers on track to eradicate the plagues, right up to Salk stopping polio in the Sixties. Nuns slave their lives away carrying bedpans for sick people in hospitals. Plenty of Christians don't think admitting telephones work means they are denying the Bible.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  4. Russ

    I love watching evangelicals raising their arms and voices to the heavens and praying to their invisible magic man in the sky. The Western U.S. Indians have been doing that and raindancing for years to end this draught. It's been over 10 years now. We're are still in this relentless dry spell. I supose when it finall gets better, if it ever does, they will say, "See our raindances worked." Kind of like on that rare occaision when some one prays and something good happens, "See our prayers worked." No, you were lucky, or had a good doctor. It wasn't the damn praying.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  5. Huebert

    Luckily tea party mostly consist of aging baby boomers. We make progress one death at a time.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Which God??

      @Heubert. Whoa sport. Get off you fvcking high horse. I'm a boomer, a combat vet as well. You don't speak for me, nor my age group. Most of my buds don't like this by-bull shyte and want to see the USA progress. Strong armed serices, bringing back our manufacturing plants and geting rid of the crap in our government, starting with most of the congress-critters in there. Most of us are not of the tea party, but the ones you see are by-bull/god/hey-sues believers. I had respect for your posts, but you lost it here son.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  6. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Problem for the Tea Party as I see it, is that they pander way too much to fundamentalist Christians. It has completely erased the original message of the tea party which was about taxes and the excessive unchecked spending of the government. People forget that was the original point of it. You might not agree on their view on taxes (I don't) but it is hard not to agree with them on wasteful spending. Now the tea party has changed its agenda to what the fundamentalist Christians want, which is a theocracy. Funny how many tea party members tout the Consti-tution yet spit on it by trying to put laws in place that are based strictly on Biblical reasoning. That is spitting on the Consti-tution.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • chubby rain

      At least they are consistent. They spit on the Bible with there ideology as well.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  7. Hypatia

    #1 should be grounds for prohibiting these snake oil creeps airtime.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  8. Susie

    It is laughable how the leftists here spew hatred for the tea party members and try to link them to the eminent demise of the country. The demise of this country started with the leftist garbage introduced in the sixties...free love (now we have a huge number of children in poverty, with no father around, due to this grand idea) government as daddy nonsense will bankrupt the country.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      But the people who run the tea party would love to have contraceptives banned. You can't have it both ways.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Great argument - it's those dam hippies...

      Go back to fox news.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Answer

      Susie is preaching for abstinence. Your typical religious "fall in line" motto ..

      "Promote this stupidity above all else because this is what we believers are told to do." <<- You are here Susie.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      Actually you are wrong... Christians represent majority in this country 85+%. If blame is to be cast it is to the Christians. However that doesn't stop the majority trying to blame the minority. You know scapegoating. Hmmm where did we see this before??? How about you take that high and mighty cross out of your ar s e and accept responsibility for what you guys have done to this country???

      June 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • v_mag

      Susie, I was around for the 60's, and believe me, America under the buttoned down shirt crowd was not a pretty place. If that's where your teabaggers want us to go, it's because they don't have the first idea how things were before there was a counterculture. If you have a job that pays halfway decently, and you enjoy freedom, you can thank those leftie brothers and sisters who fought the establishment in the 60's.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • sam

      Oh those hippies. Look what they did.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Teavangelicals are nothing but right-wing extremists trying to force their narrow-minded views on everyone else. They make the Taliban look like moderates and won't be happy until the US is another theocracy.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  10. Bible Clown©

    Thanks to the Teabaggers for knocking down all the GOP candidates until they found one too rich to fall. Now you can either have a Mormon as your Party's symbol, or vote for Obama yourselves and hope.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Answer

      I watch your American politics and follow it. I am affected (our Canadian economy is) by this politics.

      If I were allowed as a Canadian to cast a vote in the United States.. I will put my vote for Obama.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      Bible Clown©

      Thanks to the Teabaggers for knocking down all the GOP candidates until they found one too rich to fall. Now you can either have a Mormon as your Party's symbol, or vote for Obama yourselves and hope.

      /
      God Bless the religo nuts.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  11. local business owner

    These people and their ideology really concern me. Those of us who don't mind being or having people
    of diverse backgrounds need to all get out and vote. I have no idea who this GOP is anymore–i was never
    that crazy about them in the first place but this new version is too mean for me. and that does not in any
    way indicate that the rest of us are irresponsible, lazy or inept. Some of the rest of us are some of the hardest
    working, innovative citizens of this country and we need to stand up to this tea party with our votes.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  12. millmaster

    The Tea Party is a fraud. It opposes excessive taxes and big government but destroys the American promise of freedom, equality and liberty by fighting to deny marriage equality. They want to use government force to break up gay families.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Answer

      They will always want more things to fall in favor for their views. They will always find new avenues to spread their intolerance of what they believe is "sin".

      Maybe even try to classify brushing your teeth as a sin. Who knows what they will dream up on...

      June 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • chubby rain

      They are not just anti-marriage equality. They are anti-secularist. Because public schools and government programs are secular, they would simply like them to fail and the easiest way to accomplish that is cut funding.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. just sayin

    The Evangelicals have destroyed the GOP, should be intersting to see how they destroy our Const i tution and our government.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Answer

      Well it is fairly obvious to equate as to how the GOP has fallen. A Republican is at heart, has a vested interest in his stability, his lifestyle. They have had a decent past history of accepting technology and science which gave rise to their positions and of wealth.

      You can not deny the history of the GOP that once was a good party. But as time changes so do the people in this party.
      So how does one persuade a whole party of science and technology promoters (and of personal American wealth) to change? Yes. You give them more money.

      Evangelicals have always had money. You can see the relationship plainly. Of course the tax exempt status helps to fuel the bribery. And what you see now of the GOP is just a bunch of panderers to this horde of cash. Evangelicals don't like to be outed for their lust of money so in comes the lies of "we are there for the poor".

      To stop this vicious cycle you always have to follow the money.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  14. just sayin

    "forming what Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political correspondent David Brody calls the "Teavangelical" movement."
    .
    Yes religion in government has worked out well and the best thing for freedom.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "religion in government has worked out well and the best thing for freedom" Sure has worked in North Korea.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • B@lls deep in Christ

      Thats nice, North Korea is about as relevent as a t u rd in the ocean. Shall we assume that you fully support a Theocracy? Or if you have a point, do you wish to make it?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Religion works great in government. Why just look at Iran, Egypt, Uganda, Syria. Yup, a right wing Muslim or right wing Christian nation is so loving and caring, except for the kill-everyone-who-is-different thing. But hey, at least you have prayer in schools, right?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  15. William Demuth

    Being a fiscal conservative is fine, but once you introduce Christianity, the movement becomes bigoted and obsessed with a social agenda.

    The Tea Party had best to keep the distinction, lest they fade into history

    June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "lest they fade into history" As soon as this election over, they will be told to disband and vanish, and they will.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  16. chubby rain

    "Brody said that Teavangelicals are winning seats on school boards, city councils, and county commissions."

    This really concerns me. The anti-science, anti-evolution agenda of the "Teavangelicals" threatens to make our school children even more inept and unable to compete in a globalized economy. That's not how you break out of a recession.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • v_mag

      The teabaggers fit right in there with the evangelicals in the sense that neither group has a clue about fiscal reality. Teabaggers seem to think the middle class can subsidize the rich and corporations with tax breaks and we can still balance the budget. Evangelicals think a rich Mormon guy can pray us out of debt.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    LOL. the Teabaggers had their moment to shine - and failed.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Oh, they were shiny at first, then they started gibbering like turkeys.
      Now they're like dried up stale turds that burn the grass.

      Soon they will be dust for the history books, where their tale will cause many a snicker to historians.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Answer

      The possibility of the end of religion and of that of these teabaggers is very high. Even if they are able to install a theocracy into place they will still fail.

      In even a theocracy they have to outwit and really confuse the American public on their choices for high ranking positions. When too many of them get into power whilst denying the variation in moderate voices needed they will face an extreme backlash and will be taken out with force. It is almost a guarantee that in the United States that probably only after three years of a theocracy in place that there will be a real run to your guns situation. Hope you guys down there can keep these morons from power. I don't want my Canada to follow along this bs.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  18. just sayin

    Evangelicals are more anti American ad freedom than even the Socialists (and i don't like Socialists). They are equal to their Taliban brothers in the ME. They are the Christian Taliban.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ just saying. Right to the heart of it. Well done.

      June 28, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  19. Honey Badger Dont Care

    OK, I read the entire article so maybe I can comment now. LOL

    Teavangelicals matter because they must be stopped from using any positions gained to corrupt the political system and attempt to make this country a theocracy.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    The last three reasons, aren't really reasons that they matter.
    Sure, Herman Cain and Rick "Frothy" Santorum made it more interesting in a funny way. Those two didn't really matter though.
    Sticking around for a while? The KKK has been around for a long time, are they still relevant? Do they matter? No, they don't.
    Crossword puzzle answer? Is this a joke?

    June 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • just sayin

      The evangelicals are a joke...a sick joke.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Jacques, you dodo, they're doing the semi-weekly book promotion article!
      That's all this is. Paid promotion deal. Keep calm. This too shall pass.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • chubby rain

      @just sayin, It would be really, really funny if I didn't live here.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.