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. Salvador Swartz

    Thanks for expressing your ideas. The first thing is that students have an alternative between government student loan plus a private student loan where it's easier to go with student loan consolidation than in the federal education loan.

    August 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  2. cof

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    June 6, 2013 at 1:19 am |
  3. Katerin

    my dad retired last year from his work, in reutrn to his hardwork we gave him one of the best gift, a trip to hongkong and macau with my mom.Also we always get him something every payday either gave him allowance for whatever he wants to buy, treat to a dinner or 3 bottles of Red Horse or 1 bottle of brandy with his favorite pulutan papaitan. This father’s day we plan to treat him to his fav resto in moa and hopefully have a surpirse jollibee adult party on his 67th bday next year.Luv you dada!!! mwahhh

    November 10, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  4. dyslexic dog

    the upcoming election will prove two points.
    (a) that christians are believers according to convenience, and
    (b) that republican christians are republicans first and christians second

    Romney is a mormon which is a religion that, as well as co-optingsome parts and characters from the bible word for word, also contradicts and makes a mockery of so many key christian religious beliefs that it should be a bigger issue to christians than gay marriage and abortion. But ... the same way as christians always pick and choose which parts of the bible to loudly proclaim and which parts of the bible to pretend don't exist ... they will ignore all these issues and vote for Romney anyway.

    What do you think God/Jesus will think of you if you give your vote to a man who truly believes that he will one day be a God? Or a man who truly believes that Joseph Smith, a 19th century reknowned con-man, is an equal of Jesus?

    Go on christans, pretend you never read this post. Find some obscure bible quote that will justify you supporting a cult. What a joke!

    July 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  5. Jesus Christos Dominos Domingos

    "Praise unto Him, and He shalleth poop unto thine face"
    Hot Carl (17, 18)

    July 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  6. EndTheHate

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • mat

      Wow... good email. You are questioning many theories: Poverty is product of lazy people. Animals are created to feed humans and we have every right to kill them. English is only the language to speak other languages are useless. Guns are part of American family culture and can be used against colored people. Education is polluting minids of people. Wars are required for corporate profits but kids of poor families should serve in the army in the name of patriotism. Dead bodies to poor families, and profits for corporation. Everybody should pay equal taxes including suckers of American resources. We spend money on wars but not on wounded solidiers. Immigrants are problem to America but a Mexican worker is needed for grass cutting. Holding Bible in one hand and saying universal healthcare is immoral.

      I am sick of these people. I do not know why God does not enlighten them.

      June 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • it is no more

      than repeti tive bull sh it composed by someone else. Avoid these list bull sh it posts you are wasting time reading them.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • EndTheHate

      @it is no more

      What a fact filled thought provoking well reasoned rebuttal.
      You sure disproved my post word for word.
      In fact you changed my opinion on Christians in name only.

      /sarcasm off

      July 1, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • truth be told

      it isn't your post

      July 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    more religious groups matter as much as more water to the ocean...the problem lies in when there are a great many added at once!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  8. No history

    Protestant heaven is just like regular heaven, but not as nice. There is always a line for the lunch buffet and the clouds aren't as soft on the feet.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The coffee's better, though.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Cq

      Remember Protestant vs. Catholic heaven on the Simpsons? 🙂

      June 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  9. terry

    I understand that many "christians" personally donate to the poor etc.., but then they turn around and negate that spirit by their support of right wing politicians who hurt the weak, sick, poor elderly, etc. I remember when the Dow chemical rep tried to defend napalm by saying how many good products they made. And what part of 15 million children going to bed hungry in "one nation under God" don't the teavangelicals understand is not Christian?

    June 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Are you kidding? The economic aspect is the ONLY good thing about the Tea Party.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'terry' is an instance of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.


      June 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • fallacy spotter

      wouldn't be able to define a fallacy if one was attached to its hand

      June 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'fallacy spotter' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy and includes a non sequitur.


      June 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Sim34

      I believe it's called "conscience money". The biggest crooks and killers have always donated something to the church to grease the wheels of their personal salvation.

      June 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      June 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      You are a hack. Prayer doesn't change a damned thing.

      Free will, determination, strength–these change things.

      Prayer? Not at all.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • all history

      revolves around prayer

      June 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • No history

      Revolves around prayer.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is delusional and wishful thinking. Prayer changes NOTHING. Positive actions by living people is the ONLY thing that makes changes happen! Teaching children that an imaginary being will solve their problems is very harmfuland detrimental ! Teaching children the TRUTH of Science and Physics is VERY HEALTHY for Children and ALL intelligent beings. Religion is the OPPOSITE of this! Religion is BAD for children and other living things!

      June 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      June 30, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  11. Jack

    Hello everyone, all are invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Getreal

      But only if you are looking to waste your time

      June 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Jock, you are invited to visit my hairy backside with your lips.

      June 30, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  12. BB

    They matter not, unless you send them money. Many lemmings do send them money, so that they can spread hate, all in the name of some mythical god. They live in multi million dollar mansions, fly in private jets and have millions in bank accounts, all tax free. FRAUDS!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • DENNA

      You are right. Also, Tea Party people are not Christians, they are monsters bent on destroying this country with their meanness.

      July 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  13. Rey

    Jesus = love; antichrist = hate... if your religion or political party is spewing hate like a shaken beer more than likely they represent the antichrist.... don't let them turn Jesus into the God of hate! Know Jesus, Know love... no Jesus no love...The antichrist is among us.... Know the antichrist Know hate... no antichrist; no hate!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Dennis

      The world would be a better place without your christ and antichrist delusions.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Dennis

      And a better place without the tea party, although sometimes they provide comic relief as something to laugh at.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's only comic relief until they turn the country into a fascist theocracy.

      Frank Zappa said American fascism will come with a flag in one hand and a cross in the other. Sound familiar?

      June 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • kerfluffle

      Why would you shake a beer? What the heck is wrong with you? Why do you hate America??

      June 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Jesus = wishful thinking.
      AntiChrist = Paranoid Delusions
      Worrrying about either one = A complete waste of time

      June 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Rae, not this antichrist horse manure again. Do you ever get tired of being full of crap?

      June 30, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • DENNA

      Thank you for being frank. Tea Party people scare me. They hate President Obama because he is black, but they dance around that hatred with all sorts of lies and justifications. God help us all.

      July 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  14. I'm The Best!

    I believe with all my heart in conservative economics. What makes me not want to vote for republicans is their very conservative social stance. So all I have to vote for is an idiot who will drive the country to ruin because of bad economics, or an idiot who will take the country back to the middle ages with social reform.

    I hate politics.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  15. catholic engineer

    For people who want to read about the treachery of religius people, come to the CNN Faith Blog. To find out what monstrocities people are capable of when left to their own devices, go to all the other CNN pages.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Jack

      Do protestants get into heaven?

      June 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
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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.