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The Tea Party Language

On Thursday I had the opportunity to be a part of the a gathering that questioned the language of the Tea Party.  At All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA a  group of interfaith leaders came together to launch a new coalition based upon the principles of social justice; of equality and fairness;dignity and respect for all people.  We call ourselves the Moral Compass to Justice.

The rise of the Tea Party Movement and their tax day protests have been filled with racists rhetoric hiding behind their chants of less taxation and smaller government. The way they talk about our first African-American President, Barak Obama is nothing short of hate speech.  Fox News helps to fuel this hatred with their twisted talking points that they pretend is news.  And the Rush Limbaugh’s and hate radio stir up violence against others. One only had to look at the rhetoric following the Health Care Debate and the multiple threats against congresspeople to know that this is out of hand.  Surveys show that the Tea Party members are overwhelmingly, white, conservative and more men than women.

The TeaParty movement is upset because America of the 21st Century is a changing place and the economic challenges to meet the needs of the 21st century global marketplace is vastly different than even 10 years ago.  Corporations continue to be treated by some in this country as the saviors including the conservative justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

America is more diverse racially, religiously, and the divide between classes grows.  With the economic distress it is easier to point fingers at immigrants and those who are different from yourself.  And that is what the the rhetoric of this movement does -exclude the immigrant, exclude gay and lesbian people and people of color. 

They want to gut government so that the caring for those that are in distress can not take place.  Is this the America of justice and liberty for all?  The Tea Party acts as if they have never heard of the phrase, “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.” And so any program to help lift up those who have fallen is an anathema to them because of course it is part of “bigger government.”  They rail against paying taxes because they want to direct their giving or not give at all.   This is why we have elected officials who must answer to constituents.  But if every American only gave to the things they wanted then we would not be the strong country we can be. Not internally or world-wide.

America has been defined by the way we care. For those here in our country and those abroad.  We have always lent a helping hand.  If the Tea Party movement of me firsts have their way there will be no hand to hang on to. 

They complain about taxes but 47 % of Americans paid no taxes on April 15.  What a shocking number.  Who are they complaining about the rich? What they are really saying is that America is different from they grew up.  Well it is and we can stir up venomous hate speech and continue to create a partisan divide that will not be healed or we can find common ground to help those who really need it;. To rebuild education in America, to deal with immigration reform since this is a country that has been built by the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants, to full inclusion of gays and lesbians, to ensuring that everyone has equal access here, not just a privileged few. Economic justice for many must be our cry including job retraining to adapt to this new century. But the Tea Party advocates are deluding themselves if they think the private sector can be the only ones to offer this to our citizens and to the strangers in our midst.  This is a function of government.  Just like providing roads and protection militarily and by police.

If you would like to read the press statement that went out to introduce A Moral Compass To Justice click here

America is only as strong as its people.  When we are united, we stand. When we are divided, we fall. And those who would listen to the voices of division will bring America to its knees.

We as a group believe in putting our faith into action and building bridges of understanding and coöperation rather than targeting groups for exclusion.  And on May 11 at 7;30 pm at 2nd Baptist Church in Los Angeles we will be conducting a forum on hate crimes in Los Angeles County.

Some of the leaders of a Moral Compass To Justice include: Rev. Dr. Eric Lee, president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) here in Los Angeles, Samuel Chu, Executive Director of California Faith For Equality; Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Associate Pastor of All Saint’s Episcopal Church, Dr. Sharon Groves Deputy Director of the Faith and Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign, Ani Zonnerveld, co-founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values, Rev. Ryan Bell, Pastor of Hollywood Seventh Day Adventist Church, Eddie Martinez, Associate Director of the Wall/Las Memorial and many others.