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Animation is not just for kids any more. In fact, there’s nothing at all “Mickey Mouse” about the cartoon video just released by the American Values Network. “Tea Party Jesus: the Sermon on the Mall” is a cartoon send up of “Teavangelicals,” the Tea Party attempt to brand itself as a Christian movement.
Tea party Jesus, unlike Jesus of Nazareth, doesn’t take his inspiration from the Hebrew prophets. Instead, he preaches using the sayings of the tea party. Tea party Jesus preaches on the national Mall, not on a Mount overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The text is a little different too:
“Blessed are the mean in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for lower taxes, for their own pockets shall be filled. Blessed are those who follow my prophet Ayn Rand and disparage the merciful, for they shall never have to show mercy.”
What is shocking about this video is that this appalling “preaching” is taken directly from tea party statements. The script on the Web site documents this with links to the actual material. What is even more jolting is the real Sermon on the Mount preached by a different cartoon Jesus at the end of the video.
This cartoon just beginning to pick up buzz online. Yet, with tea party favorites Michele Bachmann and now Rick Perry having dropped out, it is up to the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both conservative Catholics, to carry this dubious flag. Gingrich’s support of child labor and Santorum’s tax plan that overwhelmingly benefits the 1 percent seem to fit the Tea Party Jesus perfectly, however. The blessings of being mean in spirit and hungering and thirsting for tax cuts is alive and well in this GOP primary race.
And tea party Jesus does not have to soldier on alone with only GOP candidates for disciples. Glenn Beck’s words inspire tea party Jesus, and Rep.Paul Ryan’s favorite inspirational reading, the works of Ayn Rand, are “prophetic” texts for tea party Jesus too.
There is nothing “evangelical” in the views of the tea party when you define evangelical in its original sense as “in agreement with the Christian gospel.” Nothing. Just nothing at all.
The “Tea Party Jesus: the Sermon on the Mall” makes this crystal clear, and as a video on YouTube it will reach a much wider audience, especially the twenty-something generation who may not have as much biblical knowledge as do older Americans.
In an extraordinary presidential campaign season, with debates that have featured booing a gay soldier and cheering execution, and then the onslaught of the comedians, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, with their own Super PAC running ridiculous political ads, it is only logical that cartoons would be next.
Let’s just sum up, shall we? None of what the tea party preaches has anything to do with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. If it takes a cartoon to drive that message home, so be it.