Friday, October 15, 2010

The Catholicity of the Tea Party

Our Sunday Visitor has a "balanced" piece about the compatibility of the tea party movement with Catholic social doctrine.

While I do not consider myself a tea partier, I am sympathetic to the cause and have noticed that one thing that seems to be universal about analysis of the tea party movement is the extent to which it betrays a desire to make it more (and less) than it is. However, part of what has given it its traction and a broad appeal is the combined narrowness and intensity of the common ground held by its various factions. There are many fellow travelers among libertarians, Wal-mart Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents, right-wing Evangelicals, orthodox Catholics, etc., so it is not surprising to see other issues carry some steam within the movement. Nevertheless, the heart of it remains a visceral rejection of unprecedented, rampant government expansion. 

In September 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama lectured the electorate about the "distractions" created by his opposition and the media, and the place of "Swift Boat" politics, punctuating it with a stern, "Enough!

As others seek to distract from what the tea party movement is and what it might mean, that could just as easily be the Tea Party motto today: "Enough!" 

And on that point, there is nothing inconsistent with Church teaching. As Fr. Robert Sirico put it:
I think the majority of the people who are involved in the tea party movement prefer things to be done at the most local level possible. They are not against government in principle, they are against the excessiveness of government that we see, and that's expressed in the principle of subsidiarity.

(HHT: PowerBlog)

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