Tea party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said he sees a “spiritual” motivation behind the tea party movement. Telling the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody today that “the bigger the government gets, the smaller God gets,” DeMint said there will be a growing “parallel spiritual revival” with the anti-tax movement, comparing it to the Great Awakening religious movement that proceeded the American Revolution:
DEMINT: I really think a lot of the motivation behind these Tea Party crowds is a spiritual component. I think it’s very akin to the Great Awakening before the American Revolution. A lot of our founders believed the American Revolution was won before we ever got into a fight with the British. It was a spiritual renewal. [...]
Well, I think people are seeing this massive government growing and they’re realizing that it’s the government that’s hurting us and I think they’re turning back to God in effect is our salvation and government is not our salvation and in fact more and more people see government as the problem and so I think some have been drawn in over the years to a dependency relationship with government and as the Bible says you can’t have two masters and I think as people pull back from that they look more to God. It’s no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice-versa. The bigger God gets the smaller people want their government because they’re yearning for freedom.
Indeed, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of tea party supporters found they are more religious than most Americans, with 38 percent saying they attend religious services every week, compared to 27 percent of all people polled. However, they were overwhelmingly concerned with economic issues, not social ones, with only three percent saying “religious values,” and only two percent saying “moral values,” were the “most important problem facing the country today.”
The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent notes DeMint’s comparison may be right — “but not in the way he might think.” The Great Awakening was marked by “[i]ntense emotional outbursts at gatherings” and a “visceral rejection of authority,” Sargent writes. “Yep — that description could easily apply to any Tea Party rally today,” he adds.