Saving America: Introduction



Birth of a Tea Partier


We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July … I’m gonna start organizing.

– Rick Santelli, 2009


[The Tea Party] will die out.

– Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), 2010


Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

– Jesus the Christ


Tax Day, 2009

As the workday crawled to a close, I could think about only one thing: my first political protest.

At 32, I’d never been politically active other than inconsistently voting and sending the occasional e-mail or fax to an elected representative destined to ignore it. I was too shy to call. I certainly wasn’t one to show up at a protest, thrust a clever or silly sign above my head, and join a passionate chant that may or may not rhyme. Those people were weird. Plus, as a Christian, I never wanted my political views to distract anyone from the message of Jesus I aimed to share with anyone who would listen.

But there I sat at my desk, having spent much of the day reading about the Tea Party protests occurring across the nation (apologies to my employer), planning to soon attend one in my own city of Richmond, Virginia. That day featured the first major nation-wide grassroots attempt at showing our national government that we did not support the course it had set, especially its fiscal policy of massive bailouts and debt, all of which would be repaid by our children and grandchildren (and possibly beyond) through blinding taxes and a loss of freedom they didn’t ask for and don’t deserve. Joining the protest was my small part in standing up for the future of my two young boys.

I never would have imagined that a year later I’d be a board member of one of America’s larger Tea Parties, run their writing committee and their blog, write press releases and official letters to elected politicians, do radio and TV interviews, meet with congressmen, plan a convention, and most recently write this book. Who was (am) I to do any of this stuff? I’m a regular guy: a moderately dorky computer programmer and freelance writer, whose favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber, and an independent with virtually no political engagement before 2009. In fact, despite being a voracious consumer of news, I loathe politics. And controversy. I’d much rather spend my free hours talking to my lovely wife, watching UP with my boys, pursuing my side career of writing novels (I have published one so far), and relaxing with friends on our deck while I brag about the burgers I’m grilling.

So what happened that God compelled an ordinary guy like me to help lead the extraordinary and controversial movement reshaping American politics, called the “Tea Party”? That’s the subject of this book. And it’s my ordinariness that inspired me to write it.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard enough from the “experts,” talking heads, and politicians who all played a role in creating the political and economic disaster America finds herself in. You’re ready to instead hear from average Americans who love God, his people, this country, and can offer time-tested biblical and commonsense solutions to our problems, without a political agenda interfering. And as I do just that in the ensuing chapters, showing you how Tea Party principles align with the Bible, it’s my prayer that you and many others will be inspired to join your Christian brothers and sisters in this revolutionary movement to restore America to her founding principles, if you haven’t already.

This book isn’t only for Christians, though. If you’re not a Christian—or religious in any way, for that matter—it would still benefit you to understand the biblical case for those founding principles. That way when someone tries to use the Bible to justify an enormous expansion to the size and influence of government, you can politely explain how they’re wrong, as I will equip you to do over the course of this book. Also, you may find the general information I present about the Tea Party interesting and helpful.

So please keep reading—this book is for everyone.


* * * * *


Like many in the Tea Party, my involvement began on that providential date of April 15, 2009. As I fidgeted at my desk, anticipating the first Richmond Tea Party protest, I lamented how our government at all levels had failed us, ignoring the very Constitution they had sworn to uphold—the one that led to the freest, most prosperous nation God ever gave Earth. For years, politicians from both major political parties had relentlessly pursued a government with ever-expanding power and influence over our lives, resulting in the erosion of the divine gift of liberty and the destruction of our economy. Our only hope in preserving America’s future was for her citizens to stand together in huge numbers and shout a collective, “Enough!” If they didn’t, and this growing backlash ultimately fizzled out, elected officials would be emboldened to grab as much power and spend as much money as they pleased, knowing ordinary Americans no longer cared about holding them accountable.

Government would become our god.

So I couldn’t stop wondering about how many people would actually show up to the protest. I wanted to expect a large number, reasoning that if someone with such an impressive history of civic sloth as I was going, surely many other more responsible citizens would as well. But the weather was cold and rainy. And I knew only one other person attending, despite having many friends who agreed with the sentiments of the protest. Small-government-minded Americans have always been better at yelling at inanimate objects—such as TVs and radios—than at organizing. So I didn’t know what to expect.

When the workday finally expired, I slipped out of my office building and started walking the seven blocks toward downtown Kanawha Plaza, located fittingly next to the Federal Reserve building. My heart fluttered with a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

God, please let this be the beginning of something positive.

As I drew near the Plaza, the sidewalks began filling with people marching in the same direction, as if on a mission. Most wore jeans and rain jackets. Some carried yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flags or cardboard signs with colored letters pasted unevenly on them—both dead giveaways they were indeed headed for the Tea Party event, not one of the nine local Starbucks.

I rounded a corner and heard the chattering of a gathering crowd, as if I were about to enter a football stadium before a game. When I finally reached Kanawha Plaza, I stopped to survey the scene. The crowd had already filled the entire Plaza and was spilling into the streets.

Thank you, God.

I glanced around and spotted my friend, Doug, whom I’d planned to meet. We weaved our way through the mass of people to an open space toward the back. We stood, waiting for the event to begin, while hundreds more continued to fill in behind us.

Studying the crowd, the ordinariness I shared with its members struck me. They weren’t weird after all. And they certainly weren’t professional protesters or political operatives. Instead, parents huddled with their children under umbrellas; groups of young professionals voiced their opposition to an enormous government spending away their future; elderly couples waved small American flags under a section of trees protecting them from the rain; small business owners elevated signs demanding government get out of their way of creating jobs; citizen journalists aimed phones and cameras, snapping photographs and recording videos to be later uploaded to YouTube; military veterans stood tall in their quiet humility, their love for our nation spilling out and capturing the rest of us. It was a beautiful collection of Americans who would normally have no reason to come together, but instead their sincere love for their country and fellow man inspired them to ignore the cold rain and stand united for We the People and against We the Government.


* * * * *


The event began, featuring music, historical reenactments, and rousing speeches. I spent the evening shivering, mostly with my hands shoved in my pockets, but my heart was warmed by the passion of the speakers and the crowd.

As an independent, I had feared the protest would focus on the Democrats, because theirs was the party in power. But to my delight, the attendees turned out to be equal opportunity critics, their signs and chants reflecting the truth that all our elected officials were responsible for the massive growth of government power and bringing our nation—and the world—to the brink of economic collapse. Shouts of, “Vote them all out!” ruled the evening. Like-minded people had come together—finally—to leave partisanship behind and do something about it.

But what exactly did we do?

I left the protest that evening, encouraged that thousands had turned out, despite the weather. (The collective total for Tea Parties across America that day reached well into the hundreds of thousands.1) But I couldn’t help but wonder what would come of the Tea Party movement.

Was that all we had?



You, of course, know the answer.

That spontaneous outpouring of concerned Americans across the country, inspired by a random Rick Santelli rant on CNBC,2 would explode into more protests, rallies, marches, conventions, online and in-person training sessions, viral videos of passionate town hall appearances, visits to congressional offices, bus trips to Washington D.C. (and other cities across America), the establishment and cooperation of local and national organizations, the stunning victories of Tea Party candidates at every level of elected office, the formation of Tea Party caucuses in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives—all combining to influence the debate on every major issue and entirely reshape the political landscape. I’ve never seen anything like it. Granted, I’m fairly young, but the older people I talk to all say the same thing.

The Tea Party movement is a national phenomenon.

Not everyone is impressed with our efforts, though. Politicians, the mainstream media, and a large percentage of everyday Americans—including many Christians—are either skeptical of or downright contemptuous toward our members and what we stand for. We’ve been slammed as astroturf, racist, violent, anti-government (even wanting to take it down3), anti-poor, an arm of the Republican Party, SOBs,4 and have been likened to hobbits,5 aliens,6 and terrorists.7 Many of our main detractors, including even the President of the United States, have called us by a sexual slur too graphic to include in a Christian book.8 A sitting Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, kindly advised us to “go straight to Hell.”9

In the latter chapters, I will demonstrate in detail the inaccuracy—and often downright silliness—of these charges, but for now I humbly ask, What’s up with all the hate, guys? We Tea Partiers are just a group of average Americans exercising our First Amendment rights. You don’t have to agree with our positions, but when did it become a bad thing for citizens to take an interest in the critical issues of the day and speak their minds? When our elected officials—the most powerful people on the planet—feel comfortable openly maligning a group with little or no political power for voicing concern about their children’s future, something has gone horribly awry.

I’m generally a light-hearted and optimistic guy, so, believe me, I don’t want to write these things. I wish they weren’t true. I’d love nothing more than to return to the days when my weightiest discussion centered on who was better: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning (Tom Brady, obviously). But instead, I’ve mutated into some alien life form who delivers unplanned speeches about preachers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the history of progressivism, and the national deficit threatening our future—topics no one cares about at a party. People look at me as if I’m John the Baptist, wrapped in camel’s hair and snacking on locusts. My wife actually had to implement a rule that I’m not allowed to bring up politics with my friends, ever, for any reason.

Somehow, though, I convinced her to let me write this book and instead take my case to the entire country. Apparently despite the snickering and awkward moments it may cause at the few social gatherings we’re still invited to, she knows as well as I that the things I’m writing are true and need to be highlighted on a large scale. Because if people don’t wake up in bigger numbers and speak out against the arrogance of their government, they will soon find themselves with no freedom to speak out at all. That goes for Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, greenies, and everything in between and beyond.

Especially Christians.

We are among the first to lose our rights when a government absorbs so much power that it becomes the Almighty State. God’s First Commandment is, You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). That happens to be the State’s First Commandment as well; therefore, when an individual’s religious convictions supersede the interests of the State, the State must outlaw those convictions—or the actions that stem from them—and execute its wrath on any violators.

America’s Founders knew this, which is why they devised a system of government based on religious freedom, limited power, and extensive checks and balances. Through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, they implemented the revolutionary principles that an individual’s rights were given by God, protected by government, and that We the People were in control of our representatives. But, sadly, as we have allowed government to accumulate power over time, politicians have flipped the structure, so that our (non)representatives are now in control of We the People.

We must flip it back before it’s too late.

That’s not to say our Founders were perfect and they lived in a perfect era; clearly they weren’t and they didn’t. And it’s not to say the system of government they created was perfect either; it wasn’t. In fact, no system created by man can ever be perfect, because man is not perfect. But that original American system of government—built on the basics of human nature and Law found in the Bible—is the best system I’ve ever seen set forth, and though imperfect, it did allow for the advancement of civilized society and the righting of any historical wrongs along the way through the amendment process (e.g., abolishing slavery and granting women the right to vote). Consequently, this revolutionary system ushered in an unprecedented era of human freedom and prosperity that spread from America to much of the world, creating new opportunities for ingenuity and development, lifting countless people out of poverty and oppression and into wealth unfathomed by even those who founded our nation.

But we are on the brink of losing it all.

America is headed for dark times. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see a way around suffering for the gross irresponsibility of the government we have elevated to power. No matter what story the “experts” tell you this week, a nation simply cannot spend almost 60% of its budget on entitlements,10 run up a $15 trillion debt and over $115 trillion in unfunded liabilities11 (roughly double the amount of the money supply of the entire world12), flood the country with newly printed money,13 and expect its economy to function much longer. Our government’s reprehensible stewardship of God’s resources has set us on track for unprecedented inflation, taxation, and unemployment, resulting possibly in total economic collapse. (More about this in Chapter Four.)

Even worse, the people running the show think that more government is the answer. They use every issue or crisis—which they create—as an excuse to further expand their power. Inevitably, they pass another thousand-page bill they haven’t read, but which is certain to create massive new government bureaucracies and regulations, stifling economic activity, while paying off political allies and punishing opponents. And the American people pay the price in dollars and liberty—until one day we arrive at some form of total government control over our lives.

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m writing this. I know how crazy it sounds, especially if you, like me, didn’t pay enough attention to see this all coming to fruition. A few years ago, I knew America had major problems, but I was completely ignorant of just how far we’d strayed from our basic founding and biblical principles. And why that even mattered. But I have since repented of taking God’s gift of liberty for granted, and have committed to fully understanding our nation’s history and being engaged in shaping her future.

The wonderful thing is that I’m not alone. Christians all over this nation are waking up as well and coming together to help save the great Republic God gave us. Despite the staggering challenges we face, I couldn’t be more thrilled to live in this nation at this time, possibly experiencing another Great Awakening. Like he did before America’s founding, God is moving his people now, this time to restore individual freedom as originally conceived, helping us survive the coming darkness to shine his light brightly again in this nation.


Tea Party and the Bible

So where does the Tea Party fit into all of this?

The reasons people join the movement are wide and varied, but many do so because of their Christian faith.14 Through the Richmond Tea Party,15 where I currently serve, I have been privileged to lock arms with a number of kind-hearted and sincere Christians who take seriously God’s commands to love him with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:36-40). We believe that by serving the Tea Party we’re fulfilling all these.

That may sound weird, considering the Tea Party movement isn’t Christian in nature—it includes people of all faiths and of no faith—and is politically focused. I contend, though, that our movement transcends politics. The principles we espouse are not, in fact, political but are moral, as they align with the Bible and are intended to liberate our fellow citizens from the oppressions of an Almighty State by placing power with a people instead of its government. If I did consider the Tea Party a political movement, I never would have gotten involved, because I have no use for either the Republican or the Democratic Party. My Tea Party service is simply aimed at restoring in America those timeless principles that I believe offer our best chance to survive and ultimately thrive again.

With this book, I hope to convince Christians everywhere to join in this effort, and to be willing to work with non-Christians who understand the dangers of Big-Government control as well. Because the Tea Party is non-religious, it offers an enormous and unprecedented opportunity to do this. I work alongside many passionate and decent non-Christians, who are serving biblical principles whether they realize it or not. And the wonderful thing is that as they study the Founding Era, they are pointed back to God’s Word, learning more about his nature and his role in our lives, individually and nationally.


The Principles

Because I volunteer for the Richmond Tea Party, I am intimately familiar with its five core principles and will use them as the foundation for this book. They are (a) constitutional adherence, (b) limited government, (c) fiscal responsibility, (d) free markets, and (e) virtue and accountability.

Now, every Tea Party is unique and no individual or group leads the overall movement, so these principles may vary slightly from those of many sister organizations. Generally speaking, though, all Tea Parties would subscribe to the five listed. (When I refer to the general “Tea Party movement,” I’m also including any organization, such as FreedomWorks16 or the 9/12 Project,17 that doesn’t carry the “Tea Party” label, but would agree with those basic founding principles.) I also believe most Americans would and do; they just may not all know how far we have strayed from them.

As I lay this out in detail, though, I don’t pretend to speak on behalf of any specific Tea Party, including the Richmond Tea Party. I also don’t intend to “hijack” the overall movement in any way from a religious standpoint. One of the Tea Party’s great strengths is in its diversity of backgrounds, religious included, and I have no intention of undermining that. My aims are merely to (a) explain why the Holy Spirit compelled me to become a Tea Party leader, despite my being the last person you or I would expect; (b) how Tea Party principles align with biblical principles; and (c) why America’s future success depends on ordinary people like you and me standing united against an out-of-control government.

I hope this will provide affirmation for those who generally agree with me already, but I pray it will reach and challenge those who don’t. If you’re in the latter category and you’ve read this far, perhaps you’re willing to give me a chance to plead my case. As a former skeptic—political and religious—myself, I know what I’m saying in this book is hard to accept. But over the past few years, God has completely opened my mind and transformed my thinking about him and what’s really happening in our nation.

All I humbly ask is that you read this book with an open but cautious mind yourself. If you’re a Christian, I’m your spiritual brother; that alone should afford me at least a fair hearing. And if at the end—or even after the first chapter—you decide I’m crazy, an idiot, or both, then please reject everything I’ve said and write me a one-star review on I’ll be checking for it.

But for those of you who read to the end and know in your heart what I’m saying is true, I pray that the Holy Spirit will move you to join the Tea Party—or some other organization with a similar focus. I’d love nothing more than to participate with you in the Great Awakening that will ultimately restore this nation to its godly heritage and practices, and ensure a future free from oppression for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.


Government vs. God

The Bible tells us that the house built on the Rock of Christ—who is God’s Word in flesh(John 1:14)—will survive the harshest storms, but the house built on sand will collapse (Matthew 7:24-27). It’s been happening slowly over many decades, but the house of America has been shifting from the Rock to sand. I believe, though, the foundation still remains on the Rock. We just need to find it again and restore the rest of the house back to its proper place.

Because the storms are here. And they’re going to get worse, possibly more so than this nation has seen since her founding. There will be those in government and the media telling us that in order to survive we must put our full trust in the Almighty State. Even President Obama has said in the past that only government can solve the problems we face.18 He and other like-minded politicians and public officials seek total power. But that approach plants us in the sand. And government—not God—will rule us.

I believe God did us a great service by appointing to office Barack Obama and his congressional allies in the 2008 elections. Building on President George W. Bush’s expansion of power, they slammed the accelerator to the mat on full government control, making their ultimate intentions obvious. And now God has given us a national choice that couldn’t be clearer: Will we trust in him, or in the State?

I choose God. And if enough Americans join me and restore our house on the foundation of the Rock, I believe we will again be a nation of opportunity and prosperity, a haven for the oppressed, a place where all can worship and serve God to the best of their abilities and talents he’s given them, enriching the lives of those in America and beyond.

For his glory.

For eternity.

Interview with Charles Johnson and Michael Patrick Leahy

Recently, I was interviewed on WMPS the Point radio station in Memphis with Charles Johnson and Michael Patrick Leahy. We discussed my book, Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement, and delved into a number of hot topics, including the question of whether the book of Acts promotes socialism. Listen here to get [...]