Writing for the Texas Observer, born-again Christian Katherine Dobay explains why she believes the Tea Party is un-Christian and exposes the "hypocrisy of Tea Party members who claim they are defending Christianity -- a way of life they don't follow."
Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus exhort his followers to be nationalistic. All that Jesus said regarding the political state was that we must pay our taxes. Believers ought instead to be patriots of heaven, as Paul explains in Philippians 3: 20 "For our citizenship is in heaven..." Nor did Jesus instruct his followers to stem the tide of what the world considers progress by force . . . . For the end times we are told only to prepare for Jesus' return by keeping ourselves in fit spiritual condition. In fact, Jesus reserved his direst warnings for members of the church themselves, whom he warns against false teaching and ear-tickling;* even love of country can be an idol or a kind of heresy if placed before love of God and fellow man. (emphasis mine)
. . . Jesus clearly states that only those of his children who do his will, that is: feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and visit prisoners and the sick, will receive the reward of eternal life. The good news we are told to spread in the Great Commission is not the gospel of economic doctrine or political philosophy. . . . Some of the fruits we can expect when we do God's will include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That sure doesn't sound like the Tea Party rally to me! When we disobey God's will in favor of our own however, the results can be anger, greed, division, strife, gossip, ugly speech, hatefulness, and every manner of uncleanness.
We have seen some fruits of the Tea Party movement which many consider a dangerous faction exploiting tough economic times and the fears of suffering people to prosecute a political agenda. In seeking to control and manipulate a society they claim to be "saving", they are only succeeding in tearing it apart. Individuals in the Tea Party who claim to be Christian have a lot of explaining to do, for biblical teaching is full of calls to submit to secular authority, trust in God, and to pay taxes. "Pay everyone what he is owed: if you owe the tax collector, pay your taxes; if you owe the revenue collector, pay revenue; if you owe someone respect, pay him respect; if you owe someone honor, pay him honor" (see Romans 13: 1-7). No exceptions were allowed. Paul did not say to pay only as much as you feel is right. He did not say you could feel sorry for yourself to the point of open rebellion. He did not say submit only to those authorities of whom you approve, but said to give respect where it is due. The president of the United States is owed the respect of all Americans.
. . . Isn't it ironic that early Christians under pagan Roman rule flourished in holiness and martyrdom, yet today some Christians manage to feel persecuted while living in the greatest democracy in history and enjoying material blessings undreamed of by their distant kin? . . .Now, I am the first to admit that I get very uncomfortable when anyone claims "Jesus said" for the same reason I am uncomfortable when someone says "Shakespeare meant." How do we know what someone said or meant based on writings that are centuries old, and in the case of the Bible, have eight to fifteen different versions? How do we know which writer's account is accurate?
For the most part, members of the Tea Party do not under any circumstances represent what I was taught and what I consider to be Christian. I was instructed in tolerance, forgiveness, love, peace and helping those less fortunate such as those who have experienced a major catastrophe - an earthquake, hurricane or tornado. Above all I was taught that God loves all his creations.
My grandmother, an unusually intelligent and independent southern woman, and a Methodist minister cousin of mine, always opined that people who wear their religion (and patriotism) on their sleeves are anything but. I believe it's called hypocrisy.
Having said that, I respect Dobay's opinion and applaud her courage to denounce the Tea Party's hypocrisy - especially since she lives in a little town of 7,000 in the Texas Hill Country. As we've seen all too often, people in that part of the world can get hurt if they don't think right.
*ear-ticking myths: "Once saved, always saved." "No sin or doctrinal heresy will keep you out of Heaven. Fornication is permissable." Remember that Newt.