The Tea Parties’ Big Sin

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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Evangelical left activist Jim Wallis of Sojourners has become the virtual house evangelical for the Obama administration.  He is the ostensible chieftain of a supposedly populist uprising of social justice religionists whose “biblical principles” demand ever larger Big Government.  So, naturally, Wallis is threatened by the Tea Party movement, whose support extends well beyond Wallis’ constituency of liberal clergy and campus activists.

Recently Wallis editorialized against the Tea Partiers from a “Christian” perspective, and invited Sojourners supporters to jump in with their own critique.  He also opined against Libertarians, whom he regards as almost interchangeable with Tea Partiers.  The sin of both groups, in Wallis’ eyes, is their hostility to Big Government, which Wallis of course equates with God’s Kingdom.

Wallis reluctantly admitted that the biblical Book of Revelation “depicts the state as a totalitarian beast,” but only as a metaphor for ancient Rome.  And it may serve as a “clear warning about the abuse of governmental power,” he further granted curtly  “But a power-hungry government is clearly an aberration and violation of the proper role of government in protecting its citizens and upholding the demands of fairness and justice.”

Power-hungry governments are an “aberration?”  Wallis has been a campus and religious activist for the Left for over 40 years but seems blithely unaware of the 20th century’s worst horrors, orchestrated by unlimited government.  Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s purges and orchestrated famines, Mao’s own orchestrated purges and murderous Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s Cambodian genocide, the Marxist Ethiopian regime’s orchestrated famines, the countless barbarities and mass murders of other post-colonial African dictatorships, not to mention hundreds of thousands killed by North Korea’s communists and by Saddam Hussein’s Baathists, along with many thousands murdered by Vietnam’s and Cuba’s communists.  Totalitarianism in the 20th century created a relatively new historical phenomenon:  governments without limits murdering millions of their own people in pursuit of utopia.  Governments in the 20th century killed more millions of their own peoples than all of that century’s wars and natural famines combined.

Tyranny through an unlimited state was refined in the 20th century, thanks to what Churchill called “perverted science” and the Hegelian/Marxist ideology that demanded that all society yield to state supremacy.   But the 20th century did not invent tyranny or uncontrolled government, of course.  Tyranny and excessive state power have been the norm for most of human history, typically under kings or other oligarchs, who subsume economic, political, religious, and cultural power unto themselves.  The Jewish and Christian tradition has, at its best, struggled against tyranny, arguing for limited governmental powers subject to transcendent law.  The ancient Hebrews were originally governed by judges and were permitted kings only grudgingly.  There were more wicked than good kings, and even the good kings often behaved badly, with seemingly all the prophets themselves murdered for inveighing against them.

The Early Church acknowledged that God has ordained the state to maintain order.  But the Apostles did not attached messianic importance to the civil state.  With an intrinsic understanding that all humans were imaged after God with innate dignity, Christianity and Judaism assumed limits on traditional state power, whose pagan forms demanded worship of itself.  The Church, at its best, resisted tyranny and defended the weak from the strong, i.e. primarily the state and its friends.  Anglo-American proponents of liberty, influenced by the Puritans, believed that human depravity mandated strictly limited government.  James Madison famously argued for divided state powers, since men are not “angels.”

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  • John

    Mr. Wallis may recall that Rome (the large central government at the time) was the nemesis of Jesus and many Christian martyrs. Jesus, loved the tax collectors, not because he approved of them, but because he felt they were lost and in need of redemption.
    Babylon, the other large central government referred to in the Gospel, was disdained as well and represented evil and subjugation.
    Jesus was not a lover of large, central government. He and his followers were self sufficient, self reliant and took it open themselves to help the less fortunate.

    • Taxpayer1234

      Exactly. Libs say the story of the rich man/eye of needle is Christ's approval of social thievery–er, justice. But it's not. It was one of Christ's many teaching moments where he challenged the rich man to prove his professed love of God by getting rid of his riches. IOW, Christ called the man's bluff. This was also his warning to us to beware the person who professes a love of God but in reality loves something else (money, power, etc.).

      Also, Christ railed at the religious leaders for not following God's laws properly. He found it sinful that the very people who were supposed to protect and help the poor and sick and fallen were instead casting them out as "unclean." Christ chose to hang with the lowboys to demonstrate what a rabbi was supposed to be doing for his people.

  • Stephen D.

    Wolves in sheeps clothing preaching another gospel. THIS sort is an enemy to be sure.

  • USMCSniper

    The Tea Party people need to learn that this is the equivalent of a war and follow Sun Tzu. Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

    (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when
    not to fight.
    (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior
    and inferior forces.
    (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same
    spirit throughout all its ranks.
    (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take
    the enemy unprepared.
    (5) He will win who has military capacity and is
    not interfered with by the sovereign.

    and if he is not totally committed to victory, he will surely lose.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Taxpayer1234 Taxpayer1234

      Yes, I agree. We can't fight every attack on the good, lest we let evil sneak through undetected.

  • Clay Cole

    I am a Southern Baptist Pastor. I could not disagree with Jim Wallis more. The vast majority of Pastors that I know also disagree with Mr. Wallis. Early Christians made an attempt at communial living. They found it to be a complete failure, thus the instruction, "…if they do not work, they do not eat."

    Jesus did not give us a poltical system with which to govern ourselves. He gives us a relationship with God with which to inform our politics. The vast majority of Christians that take Christianity serously reject Mr. Wallis' postion and support smaller government and more individual responsiblity.

  • debarrio

    Jesus said: "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible." Mathew 24-24.
    Obama and Wallis are false prophets and their followers are being deceived. Therefore, they must not be part of the elect. Things aren't looking so good for them, are they?

  • Peachey

    The article labels Jim Wallis as a "pacifist" and this is far from the truth. Jim Wallis is a self-proclaimed Marxist that has said in interviews his belief in the establishment of a Marxist government by any and all means, hence his attraction to Obama. Despite his kindly and ordinary appearance he is a dangerous and devious Marxist disciple now advising the White House. In Obama's "father is important, Wallis was seated behind Obama nodding him on. This was a display of agreement towards the re-distribution of taxpayer money to organizations (what organizations are still unknown) that will focus on young men and the indoctrination into Marxist ideology (my evaluation) that will serve as the father role. Progressives have spent years and billions to destroy the family unit and create victims and government-dependant slaves. Why the loving concern now???

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mac691 mac691

    Wallis is nothing more than a Marxist fraud. He was a member of the Marxist SDS during his college days, and he perverts the bible in order to further his marxist ideals. I find that very disturbing that someone who wraps himself in the cloak of Christ, at the same time follows an ideolog, Marxism, which declares religion to be the "opiate of the people." If anyone wants a preview into the book of Revelation and the position of the false prophet, it is clearly Jim Wallis. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Mo_ Mo_

    This guy has no idea what Christianity teaches!

    Just because someone labels themselves a Christian doesn't mean they are. He is not.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/IceStar IceStar

    Dialogue to Leftist means agree with them. There is no exchange of facts or ideas. This is why all the talk about bipartisan this and that is like a comedy routine on late night TV.

  • Independent gal

    I went to a leftist church down the street for awhile. I tried it out because it was close by, in a beautiful old building, had singing that I loved and talked about themes I was very interested in.

    But the Pastor she was obsessed about racism and politics. It got so totally annoying. It was clear it was more about her issues than what is true in the world. So I stopped going.

  • Ted

    even the most righteous will fall

  • Ted

    I guess Wallis is one of those "We all go to heaven" clowns. Then why try? It's like Muslims who scream "We need to protect Allah!"
    To paraphrase Kirk from Star Trek V, "What kind of God needs protection?"

  • Charles Gordon

    Wallis et al. preach the heresy formed out of Christianity by Marx that promises eschatological socio-economic heaven but delivers idolatry of and slavery to the state. True Christian faith and love produce liberty and life with prosperity, and this is the way to subvert the appeal of Marx and Wallis' brand of "christianity" which is enslaving many well-intentioned people into its heretical, idolatrous structure of institutional wickedness disguised as "fairness."

  • suskey

    Wallis is always gushing about social justice and the poor, but I wonder how much of HIS wealth he has given to the poor? I can guarantee that HIS bank account is–and will remain– healthy, as will those of multi-millionaires in Congress and the President. These people are simply a bunch of Marxists and Wallis is the arm of it that is covering Marxist ideology with Christian language to promote it and get the approval of Christians who ought to know better. The following link contains a long article on the Communist Party USA website. In the part where they're talking about conservative evangelical churches, one person is named as one who is helping to push the party's ideology to Christians: Jim Wallis. What more proof does anyone need that this man is evil and working AGAINST Christ, not for him? http://www.cpusa.org/convention-discussion-religi

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