Thoughts on Tea Party patriotism and participation

When I saw this video I was indeed stunned by the singer's intention, honesty, and heart.  His passion for presenting the second verse of the StarSpangled Banner in such a forum, in such a way, stirred my heart.

Kudos to him as a citizen and a singer.  As the speaker resonated: "that is what I'm talking about".

During the Friday forums at my home last Summer, we often discussed this idea of religious freedom and its relationshipship to our country's foundation.  I don't think that the discussion today is always rooted in the right foundation or even a common understanding of terms.

Our nation was indeed founded by Christian men on Judeo Christian principles. The statement that "we are a Christian nation" does go a little far for this tea party member. I am proud of my country and am a proud American just as I'm a proud Baptist. I'm also proud to label myself as a tea party member.  That doesn't mean that I agree with everything that the "leaders" do or even think.  Labels are insidiously dangerous when they begin to represent cultural, moral, and religious assumptions.

When you build an institution on freedom, you must allow for dissent and tremendous difference within the construct.  Our founders knew this, they had learned it, and they lived it every day.  Perhaps the Tea Party members need to remember what they know/learned from those founders, and strive to live out their principles.. of freedom and choice.. more deliberately.  Time and results will be the judge of our effectiveness in bringing change to America.  Above all, we should embrace a spirit of inclusion and compassion in our ideology.  Our union is built on freedom, and freedom slips away so easily.  We must focus on it, and fight for it. The other planks in a "party platform" will take care of themselves.

For me, The TeaParty movement is a collective call for self identification.  It is composed of Americans who desire participation in their government, in its decisions. They are indeed afraid of the reckless spending and inattention of the politicians.  There are literally hundreds of individual ideas which merge, or don't merge to become the supposed "TeaParty" which the media seems to revel in attacking.  When a power doesn't understand and can't control ideas, it must attack and destroy.  The powers that be, in both parties, in the media, and in our current gov't can't control the TeaParty because it is an ideological group built on freedoms, sustained by a truly free technology/communications network built on the internet.

Videos like the one above stand on their own merits.  YouTube and email gets the message out. The music, and the production values aren't "hollywood style" like the major party conventions, but the spirit is the same.  The power of the Tea Party movement is and will remain in its ability to bring enough people together without compromising the central tenets based on personal freedoms.

Bringing people together for a collective purpose to accomplish a goal is a core competency of religion. It is however important that we don't use religion as the central supporting plank of our emerging platform.  Religious freedom can certainly contribute to our unity as it did with the founders, but it is one idea among many, and it must not become judgement based.  If that occurs, the whole ideology could indeed become exclusionary and end up inhibiting the very freedoms which it so passionately espouses.


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