How might the Sermon on the Mount have been different if Jesus was in the Tea Party? That is the question at the heart of a campaign launched yesterday (Jan. 17) by American Values Network that will culminate in the release of our first animated video -- Tea Party Jesus' "Sermon on the Mall" -- this Thursday in advance of the SC primary.
Whether it's Christian Broadcasting Network's effort to create the "Teavangelical" brand, Rick Perry's "I'm a Christian" TV ad, Bachmann and Palin's appeals to conservative Christian voters, Rep. Paul Ryan's effort to square Ayn Rand's teaching with those of Christ, or Beck's framing of the Tea Party as a home for true Christians, there has been a concerted effort by the right to convince Christians that Jesus would have supported the Tea Party.
Following up on the hugely positive response to our "Ayn Rand vs. Jesus" campaign earlier this year, AVN's Tea Party Jesus campaign follows a similar tact. Rather than presenting arguments for why Tea Party teachings are counter to Christ's, the video uses Tea Party quotes, signs and policy positions to rewrite Jesus' famous Sermon, and lets Christians decide for themselves if the language and policies of their political leaders sound right coming from the mouth of their Lord and Savior. It's a "you'd kiss your mother with that mouth" approach that holds a mirror up to the Tea Party and will create a very uncomfortable disconnect for many conservative Christians when they hear Jesus saying the same things they listen to on talk radio and Fox News.
The campaign began today with AVN unveiling its teapartyjesus.org website, and the first few trailers for the video. Along with a short description of Tea Party Jesus, the website features a tongue-in-cheek description of his "disciples" who all appear in the video (and are featured in the second trailer), including:
- Ayn the Atheist,
- Glenn the Martyr,
- Michele the Zealot,
- Newt the Bombast,
- Paul the Tax-Despiser,
- Rick the Evangelist,
- Rick the Lesser,
- Rush the Instigator,
- Sarah the Rogue,
- with an special appearance by would-be-disciple Mitt the Apostate.
AVN was very intentional to only draw from actual Tea Party statements and positions for the script, and the script is heavily cited lest there be any question about whether these are positions held by Tea Party adherents.
So go check out the website, watch the trailers, tweet about it, share on Facebook and help build buzz for the video release this Thursday!