Christians, Libertarians Battle for Soul of Tea Party
Schism could be imminent
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2010 12:18 PM CST
Tea Party supporters cheer on Sarah Palin who was the surprise guest at a Tea Party Express rally that drew about 1,000 people at the Arizona Capitol Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – The Tea Party movement is already starting to fracture, with battle lines being drawn between libertarians and Christian conservatives, Newsweek observes. A mere day after the election, Christian conservative groups like the Family Research Council wrote Republican leaders urging them to ban same-sex marriage and abortion; less than two weeks later, 17 Tea Party leader responded with their own letter urging leaders not to “run down any social issue rabbit holes.”

Jim DeMint, the self-anointed “Senator Tea Party,” recently opined that, “You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.” But that’s not true; the movement is split right down the middle, with roughly half of the people who support the Tea Party identifying themselves as part of the religious right. Others are fiercely libertarian, and don’t want the government enforcing morality. Expect this all to come to a head in the GOP presidential primary. “People will be jockeying for who will represent different flavors,” predicts one reverend.