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. Sam Yaza

    theocrats all of them theocrats,... good luck living in a theocracy
    80% of American will be put to death for f0n!c@t!0n fist year

    the one-thousand year kingdom Gods kingdom one earth paradise for the few damnation for the rest

    June 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  2. K. C. and the Sunshine Band Presents the "5 REAL Reasons Teavangelists Matter" Countdown ! ! !

    5 Circuses ALWAYS need clowns!

    4. Because before them, it was spitting cobras like Ann Coulter puking their opinions on the Right.

    3. Because maybe, just maybe, if we hope real hard, Christine O'Donnell will make a comeback!!!!

    2. Because it is very very important to have politicians who pray for rain (which still never comes) and threaten to secede!

    1. Because we need the American public to see what a bunch of tin-foil kool-aid froot loops they are,

    Okay, they are as relevant as yesterday's crumpled-up used taco wrapper.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Teaparty = Fail

      June 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      3. Because maybe, just maybe, if we hope real hard, Christine O'Donnell will make a comeback

      dude if she comes back saying shes a witch she will get my vote

      June 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Angus

      If Christine O'Donnell makes a comeback loudly proclaiming that actually she is a witch, wearing a skin-tight shiny black outfit with 6-inch spike heel CFM shoes and cracking a bullwhip, she would steal the nomination at the convention in a heartbeat! Then she would be only a Playboy centerfold away from the presidency!

      I really don't think the conservatives understood what they had with her.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  3. lynn

    mormons = children of the corn

    June 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ Lynn. That is outright phunny!

      June 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  4. steve

    Funny how the evangelicals are gearing themselves to vote for a man who is not a Christian.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Once upon a time, a guy named "Turdblossom" was one of the most powerful men in the world

      According to secret documents recently revealed by Armand Assante, the Republican Party has determined that neither they or any other right-wing element has any platform or policy at all, and for all of them, the only driving political ideology is "anybody but the nigger."

      June 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • brian

      I am not a Christian, but I'm pretty sure Mormons are.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Angus

      Well they're not bloodly Scotsmen, I'll tell you!

      June 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • steve

      Christians are the only group who do not consider Mormons Christians.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Sy2502

    Conservatism has been hijacked by the religious extremists, who have turned it into a farce. There are plenty of fiscally conservative people out there who'd rather die than be identified with lunatics like Santorum.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  6. yahmez

    Two groups that don't want to pay taxes, but still want to run everyone's lives.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  7. sybaris

    There are no individuals in the Tea Party. They cannot divorce themselves from dogmatism and are intolerant of ambiguity. Aggression towards the unknown and "different" is the hallmark of their need for group-based dominance. Their personal need for structure lends them susceptible to being told what to believe, what to think, what to say, and how to vote by charismatic personalities and media (Limbaugh, Osteen, Beck, Fox News, Palin etc.). Despite that, the Tea Party is not a monolithic group. They are an alliance of five social groups with separate, often contradictory agendas. The five groups are:

    The wealthy, who want more wealth and power for themselves and less for everyone else. Their goal is to cripple government and eliminate the middle-class. So much for Reagan's "trickle-down economy". The wealthy are just not that benevolent especially among a group who mistakenly believe everyone is born with the same opportunities.

    The economic Conservatives and Libertarians, who have made a bizarre religion out of their "free market" fairy tales. They want to destroy the social safety net and begin the Corporate State, though few of them can foresee the grim Orwellian society that they would bring into existence.

    Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, who want to be the censors of fashion, literature, media and morals while dictating Federal legislation. They feel marginalized and ridiculed despite having "In God We Trust" on our money; churches every 6 blocks in large cities; bibles in every hotel/motel room; televangelists 24/7; moments of silence (prayer) during public events; recognized Federal holiday for Christmas; God in the lyrics of The National Anthem; Radiovangelists 24/7; faith based insurance discounts; Christian bookstores in every town over 12,000; Christian cable networks 24/7; God in The Pledge of Allegiance; Christian billboards along the highways; Religious organizations are tax free; 75% of the population claims to be Christian and a national day of prayer. What they don't realize is that they are marginalized and ridiculed by other groups in the Conservative coalition who hold them in complete contempt on every day but election day.

    Racists who want to re-segregate the South. They don't admit it, but that would be the outcome if they had their way. They can't say that they hate Obama because he is Black, but they can publicly oppose him by calling him a socialist, a Muslim, a communist, etc..

    Lunatics, paranoids, gun-n.uts, militia members, and others whose mental problems are expressed in their political att.itudes. They are fanatical about their particular political fetish: guns, militias, conspiracy theories, the birthplace of the President, Death Panels, Deather conspiracy theories, the federal reserve, the gold standard, whatever.

    This isn't just some keyboard cowboy's rant over the Tea Party, this can be backed up by several studies aggregated in the paper, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition", Yost et al 2003.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Ecc. 7:17

      Wow..painting with a broad brush tonight aren't you. Typical political fear tactics.

      Why don't you just ask a person, "So..when did you quit being a racist?" It would be just as honest as the fear you are injecting.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Rick James

      Excellent breakdown. Even noted supply siders like Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek believe that the government should help the poor.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • An interview with Joe "Tea Party" Plumber

      Interviewer: So Joe, when did you stop being a racist?

      Joe: That's a deceptive and misleading question, Howard, and I won't fall for it. Everyone knows it is the coons and fudgepackers who are the racists.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • sounded by ********* in the midwest.

      Wow – Good rant and pretty much spot on for point. Everybody needs to cut and paste this to everything you can think of – maby some folks will start to get it!

      June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  8. PAT

    Like these folks matter? Look at the 2008 US map, red vs blue states. We far outnumber them. The 2010 mid term elections were won by the GOP because 95% of republicans vote whereas independants & democrats can't muster up. But they do get jazzed for the regular election cycle. The Tea Party isn't as big as the media makes it out to be. Obama/Biden 2012. The alternative is scary!

    June 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Ecc. 7:17

      These folks do matter because they are more motivated to vote. Do you really think the 18-25 crowd is going to come out in record numbers for Obama this year? How about the Union folks? Maybe you think the 8-10% unemployed will come out.

      While the Tea Party and such might not make a massive amount of voters, they will be one of the higher % groups that will vote.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  9. John T. Cullen

    They are a match made in hell, paid for by the corporations, and nurtured by the corporate political mouthpieces (GOP, NRA, and pseudo-religious zealots). They do everything but goose step and sing the Horst Wessel Lied. God help us all if these people are manipulated into power by the corporate agenda that wants to destroy the US Govt to do away with regulations and rule like dictators over a weak, disunited country of serfs.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Ecc. 7:17

      Good grief, you just described the Dems as well. Both parties are being paid big money from corporations and private wealthy donors. Only a fool would think otherwise.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  10. phoodphite

    Lol. I wouldn't bother reading any more about them based on the name. If I had to take a guess I'd say that mostly likely, collectively, they are the Anti-Me.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  11. Pete/Ark

    ;uneducated, uncaring,unsophisticated,doctrinaire, neo-nazi,christian taliban,hate-filled,short-sighted,scared little people....well, the main tease asked who they are...

    June 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      gee CNN...thanks for resetting the type...at least you didn't change my words...yet

      June 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Helpful Hints


      Are you perhaps struggling with these:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  12. Hunter

    God help us if they get their way! Pun intended.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  13. Jason

    Excellent, twice the fail for the twice of one.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  14. Like a G9

    Strange how CNN keep printing these book promotion articles. Like a newspaper that prints links to internet spam.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  15. scoobypoo

    They are just greedy and selfish rac_ists, mostly older white males.
    Too bad they won't go ahead and die off before making a mockery of democracy.
    However, the younger generations will ultimately reverse all their idiocy if we don't become a stupid theocracy first.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  16. PaulC

    How can you be overtaxed when 40% of Americans pay no taxes at all? If you were protesting the 11 aircraft battle groups floating around protecting the world or the $200 million jets or the $30million grant to China, or the pensions and pay for congress etc. I would support you. It's not how much you are taxed it's how you spend what you get.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • coloradom

      I'm in the lower middle class, and I think I pay a lot in taxes. I do think that most should pay their fair share (the poor excluded).

      June 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  17. terry

    These folks are unChristian (vote against help for poor, sick, elderly , weak, children, etc) and ultimately unAmerican–their anti-knowledge, anti-education (funding) politics of selfishness will hurt our nation and speed up China's rise. Look at any crowd of them, scared, fat, white bigots afraid of change & diversity. Shameful crowd. Oh, and their hard-line "no" votes have held back the economic recovery.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Rick James

      The strange thing about them is that they think they are helping the helpless by cutting spending going to the poor and downtrodden and giving tax cuts to the wealthy, hoping that the rich give them jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. The last 30 years have provided lots of contrary evidence, but they don't really care about "facts".

      June 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Genuflect

      Exactly Terry – Thank You! Ralph Reed and his fellow mega-millionaires – yeah, real christian like!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Like a G9

      I think the T stands for Traitors. It certainly would explain almost everything about them as far as I'm concerned.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Kyatakushi (Don't ask about the name)

      THANK YOU!!!!!! At least someone hasn't lost their sanity. Jesus preached a faith of forgiveness, tolerance and helping others who can't help themselves, not this bigotry and hatred that these people have shown to the nation. They should be ashamed to call themselves Christians.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • coloradom

      In their defense (and because I know a few of them), they don't believe that we shouldn't help the poor. They just believe it's not the government's responsibility to take care of it for us. Most of those I know give a good percentage of their income away (in the 20% range) to help those in need (not just to the church). They are all middle class, so it's not like they have a ton of money to begin with. If everyone in this country (excluding the poor) gave away even 10% of their income to help those in need, we wouldn't need much government intervention, if any at all.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Evangelicide

      But in their mind they are very Christian, in the Calvinist tradition of the Puritans. Puritans believed that wealth was a sign of God's grace, therefore helping the poor–in a perverse sense–flouted God's will.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Kyatakushi (Don't ask about the name)

      @Evangelicide: Really?!? They seriously created a "sect" of Christianity that specifically throws out one of the CORE BELIEFS OF CHRISTIANITY?!? One the one hand it does make sense that wealth is a gift from God himself, that is all well and good, BUT YOU"RE SUPPOSED TO MAKE CHARITABLE ACTIONS TO ASSIST THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN WITH THE GOD GIVEN WEALTH!!! (sorry my caps lock got jammed there)

      June 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  18. Rick James

    You know, if the Tea Party had shown up, like a decade ago, I'd be inclined to listen to them more. Not that I don't listen to them (because they do have some good points about the debt) but the fact that the party is astroturfed and just showed up about 4 years shows that they are little more than an arm of the GOP. Unluckily for the GOP, the Tea Party has become their own personal Frankenstein.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  19. bt

    These folks make me so glad I converted to Theravada (orthodox original) Buddhism!

    June 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Kyatakushi (Don't ask about the name)

      And I'm on the same boat except I'm a Mahayana (Liberal modern) Buddhist

      June 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  20. Fred Stocking

    A Christian is supposed to be non-resistant, pays taxes obeys all laws, in kind, loving, gentle, etc. There is no scriptural support for voting and Christians are to come out and be separate from the world (politics). So the tea party cannot claim to be Christians . Same problem the apostles had they hoped for a worldly change (president or congressman) when Christ would have no part of that.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Drew

      These people don't care about scripture, they are practically illiterate

      June 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
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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.