October 27th, 2010
01:09 PM ET

Opinion: Is the Tea Party becoming a religious movement?

By Jeff Sharlet, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Jeff Sharlet is the author of "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy," published by Little, Brown, and "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power." He is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone and teaches creative nonfiction at Dartmouth College.

The question of whether the Tea Party will have a real impact on American politics (yes!) has evolved into a new debate: Is the Tea Party really about more than taxes?

Glenn Beck, who invokes the semi-mythical "Black Robe Brigade" - fighting preachers he claims led the American Revolution - as a model for a new generation of activists seems to think so.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Politics • Tea Party

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Andrew VA

    Is the Teabagger party stupid? Crazy? Paid money? Do all of these describe religion as well? YES

    October 30, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  2. Peace2All

    "Is the tea party becoming a religious movement?"


    October 28, 2010 at 3:54 am |
    • Sum Dude


      "Hmmmmmm......" indeed. If "movement" means "bowel movement" then, yes, it is a religious "movement". Otherwise it's a bunch of crazy UFO nuts finding common cause and being paid to show up at these events. Good money, I guess...!

      October 28, 2010 at 3:58 am |
  3. Reality

    Maybe it is about our debts!!

    The USA Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It
    ( Debt Held by the Public vs. Intragovernmental Holdings )

    Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
    10/26/2010 $ 9,059,227,318,152.54 $4,614,522,248,581.60 $13,673,749,566,734.14

    The estimated population of the United States is 309,373,526
    so each citizen's share of this debt is ~$44,000.

    October 28, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  4. Sum Dude

    The treasonous actions by certain lobbyists on K street and these religious sleazeballs on C street need to be stopped.
    They attack our Constltution and undermine our government. Congress is just one big bribe-fest now.
    Down with the religious right! They hate our country, our Constltution, and our freedoms and rights as Americans!
    People like that have lost any right to protection by their traitorous actions. They hate our government? Fine. They can leave.
    Forcibly if that's what it takes.
    Low-down brain-washed vicious rabid fascists! They reject their equal rights. Okay, then. The solution is clear.
    They need to go.....!

    October 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      I forgot to add my scathing condemnation of the shameless K street bribe-giving greed-heads that have ruined this nation and driven it into the ground.
      Bribery is not "free speech" and never will be.
      Money is not "free speech" either, and never will be.
      That judge that ruled such nonsense should be immediately disbarred and sent to prison for his heinous conduct and deliberate misjudgement. Surely he had some of that "free speech" in his pocket, otherwise why else would he rule in such a ridiculous and criminal manner?
      Bribery needs to be prosecuted EVERYWHERE with no mercy. It undermines everything in this country. Greed is not good.
      Criminal conduct like bribery is no excuse for undermining the legislative process, or any due process of law or government.

      Add bribery and rabid religious beliefs together and you have the country as it stands today. A vast pit of corruption.
      (there. That felt good. Glad I got that off my chest! 😀 )

      October 28, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  5. downwithoneright


    October 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Oneright101

      Do not post this nonsense. making something capital is the equivalent of yelling. Yelling something stupid louder makes you look more stupid. Go to bed Early.

      October 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  6. one right101

    I think one right (the one who said anyone is better than obama) is completely right

    October 27, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  7. David Johnson

    I just watched Keith Olbermann. He did a commentary on the Teabag candidates. They are all insane. His commentary was very good. If you can, catch it on the replay.

    Please get out and vote against these idiots. Do it for your children.

    October 27, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  8. Iqbal khan


    October 27, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  9. Iqbal khan

    Please check.....

    October 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  10. Sum Dude

    I keep trying to post, but each one disappears into nothingness. No "awaiting moderation". Nothing.
    Guess which words I was using? Not bad ones, I'll tell you that....!

    October 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • David Johnson

      God works in mysterious ways...

      October 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @David Johnson

      Grrr! Just let me get my hands around somebody's neck and I'll show 'em some "mysterious ways"!

      October 27, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Sum Dude

      Hey bro...!

      You must allow your 'true Self' to get in alignment with the 'TAO' 🙂

      October 28, 2010 at 3:50 am |
    • Sum Dude


      If I did that, you would see me none-the-more. I stubbed my "TAO" the other day and cannot afford healthcare. 😀

      October 28, 2010 at 3:55 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Sum Dude

      LOL..!!! Thanks for being a good cyber-buddy here on these blogs. You're an insightful poster. And.. you make me laugh... a lot.. 🙂

      thanks pal...

      October 28, 2010 at 4:00 am |
    • Sum Dude


      What are friends for, anyway?
      I must protest at your glowing review. You have seen me be anything BUT insightful. But I suppose you're just being polite. 😛

      October 28, 2010 at 4:06 am |
  11. PsiCop

    Of course it's a religious movement, when its members are doing things like denying separation of church and state. It can only be a religiofascist movement.

    October 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  12. capnjammer


    It seems like a religion all its own, with Glenn Beck as its prophet. Watch the video above: the people at this rally don't have a single original thought, they just regurgitate everything they've heard their Dark Master say on TV and radio. One lady actually says that they aren't allowed to pray at national monuments anymore, even though it was just Glenn Beck who was denied a permit.

    October 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  13. NL

    So these folks love a good Prodigal Daughter story, someone who messes up big time, but comes back into the fold. Funny that they never seem so forgiving of democrat politicians who get messed up in scandals. Somehow THOSE mistakes are always signs of flawed character whereas THEIR mistakes are only temporary lapses of judgment. Funny how that works, eh?

    October 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Consider the following if the Obama's had a unwed, pregnant, teenage daughter, would be President?

      October 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      "forgiving of democrat politicians who get messed up in scandals" that is just not true.

      October 28, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  14. NL

    "The best way to help the weak, C Street teaches, is to help the strong, who will in turn dispense God's blessings to the rest of us. Call it trickle down religion."

    If this were true then all rich people would behave like Bill Gates, donating millions to worthy causes, but they don't. Plenty of the laid off and unemployed people attending tea party functions owe their poor economic situation to wealthy people who may benefit from the 'aid the rich' philosophy, but certainly wouldn't think twice about outsourcing jobs in order to increase profits.

    I can't believe that people actually fall for this!

    October 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Welcome to my world.

      October 28, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  15. David Johnson

    I really am scared of the Religious Right. They will destroy this country. I see no difference between the Religious Right and the Taliban.

    October 27, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @David Johnson

      While they are typically not chopping off heads, nor flying planes into buildings.... Yep... I am pretty much as frightened of them, as the taliban, Al Qaeda, etc...

      It's their insane world-views and beliefs, that flow... into actions that frighten me.

      Say good-bye to pretty much any and all personal rights, unless... approved by Jesus, and the bible.

      October 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      May I ask why just the Religious Right and not the whole Right?

      October 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Mike, not me, for all intent and purpose, that are one in the same.

      October 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I agree with you 100% – they are very scary people...

      There fiscal responsibility story is just a wedge issue to get into power. Once/if they achieve a majority, the average American very well may reach for thier guns 'cause that may be the only way to stop the RR/Tea Baggers from turning the USA into a western theocracy. I strongly believe the threat of war because of religion (theocratic christian USA vs multiple islamic states) would be far greater than that posed by capitalism vs communism.

      October 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    I thought it was religious, a far right wing, neocon, Christian Conservative, evangelical movement

    October 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey John... Why... where would you get 'that' idea...? LOL..!!

      October 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • david bidlack

      your right they scare me as well. my reasons are that once someone feed the hungry and he gave them no bill for the food. once someone healed the sick and they didn,t need a healthcare plan of their own or even need money to pay as well he loved everyone and told us we needed to love everyone as well. sounds kind of liberal to me don't you think. he even told us if we were hit we should just turn our other check to the attack. it seems funny to me that those who are on the religous right could say they believe in the teachings of the most godly man to ever walk this earth could find their home in the right wing of the republican party. its gods teaching for us to care for those with less. bill gates understands this and now works full time to give away his money. i think that no matter how hard bill trys to give his money away god will make sure that he will never run out of money to give away. i trust god that i could give away my last amount of food and because god told me never to worry about my needs because he will always make sure my needs are taken care of. these right wing people make Ronald Raegan their hero the man that said greed is good because greed built america. god is slowly taking away our wealth because to many people believe that the sin of greed is good!. these guys have no faith in gods promise that he will provide us with our needs. when we decide that we will take care of all our people from the rich to the very poor he will some how find away for us to pay for it. i am a democrat who believes in god and now feel that because i am a democrat i am made to feel unwelcome in my fathers house. seems to me that money has become so important to people that rather than helping some who needs help with money . god will take care of this nation as long as we always take care of our people no matter how rich or poor they are . the right wing is really about i got mine you get your own because i don't have to share any thing. things that can take your life away doesn't check to see how much money you have before taking your life. seems to me that now people are willing to sell their souls for money and i am sure that gods planned outcome for them will not be to good. the election coming up tuesday seems to be about who has the money ,who is getting the money ,we are running out of the money, who's money their getting the money from, how much can we spend in money to get the right people to washington to take care of the money. JUST WHO IS BECOMING THE NEW GOD OF THIS COUNTRY. THINK ABOUT THAT WHEN YOU VOTE RIGHT WINGERS!

      November 1, 2010 at 12:29 am |
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.