My Gripe with the Tea Party: My Town Responds

Last week, as you remember, I wrote a letter to the editor of The Dodge County News regarding the T.E.A. Party tax rally held by some private organizers and citizens of Eastman, GA. That letter can be found in it’s entirety Here along with various comments from locals and my internet friends.. The Dodge County News runs weekly, every Wednesday and when I got my paper yesterday I was delighted to see that there was nearly a full page in total dedicated to answering my letter. I am going to post these answers and reply to them here rather than write another letter to the editor because I simply do not want to continue monopolizing the space of the paper, but I do want the Dodge County News to know that I am eternally grateful for their inclusion of my letter and it’s responses – the media is so often either a lame duck or a slanted medium to push policies and opinions of it’s editors that I find it very refreshing that even in my small conservative town a voice of dissent (and in my opinion a voice of reason) is not silenced despite the pressures that the editor may receive from various parties. It means a LOT to me that they allowed my voice to be heard and that tells me that this paper is one of integrity – Dodge County is lucky to have it.

I am breaking this up into two separate posts because this entry will be over 5000 words if I do not, the two shorter responses will be on this post and a very long response from the pastor that was a target of my original TEA Party letter will be on another post.

July Fourth – Religious Holiday?

The first response I would like to reply to is one that comes from a misunderstanding of the writer, and evidently a few other folks. While at the TEA party there was an individual standing outside the grounds at which the rally was being held that started yelling at Rev. Hicks, the speaker that I spent most of my letter complaining about, things that were pretty well in agreement with what I said in my letter. The individual yelled something to the effect of, “What the hell does this have to do with taxes?” among other things that I couldn’t quite make out. Though I agree with the general sentiment of the heckler (as I will call him henceforth), that heckler was not I nor was it anyone within my company at the time. The most protesting I did whilst at the rally was shaking my head at some of the things the speakers were saying, but I did not yell or interrupt the speakers at any point. The letter is as follows:

Editor, There was a letter in the paper July 8,2009 addressing the contents of the T.E.A. party held on July 4, 2009. The person that wrote the article would, by his actions, like to silence the tone on born again Christians.
The 4th of July holiday was picked by those that planned the gathering with the intention of giving a Christian tone, because the 4th of July is a holiday that is celebrated across our nation thanking God for the privilege of assemble. I was one of the people that was in the planning, paying my money and time to have the right to select the speakers that we wanted and giving the right to even an atheist the privilege to attend. Take notice that we did advertise that we would have barbecue, yet this intruder elected not to participate. He brought his own and stayed out of the venue that had been reserved for the TEA Party. By his actions, his purpose was not to come and listen, but was to cause trouble. The 4th of July is a holiday that was selected for Christians to assemble, and if the atheist that wrote the article really wants to organize something for his cause, he should locate and rent an old phone booth and invite all that wants to hear him. He could hold this gathering on the atheist holiday, which is April 1. At least he wouldn’t be bothered by any born again Christians to heckle him. In closing, Mr. Oxley has the right to be wrong. JW (Initials for privacy)
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As I have already stated, I was not the individual heckling at the rally. I was standing smack dab in the middle of the rally area listening as dutifully as the individuals around me would allow – though I came alone there was a lady there with her friends and family that got into a conversation with me. This lady was an evangelical Christian and she herself expressed her distaste for the religious nature of the speeches and the rally in general calling it, “Too much” and “not the right way to go about it.”
You are correct about me not eating any of the barbecue that was available, I did want some but I had no money with me and my in-laws had a supper planned for that night. This was the only reason that I did not partake. Therefore my intent was to listen and participate, yes I did fear that the rally would be highly religious but I wanted to give the respect of doubting my intuition to the organizers and speakers – sadly the test was failed. I caused no trouble whatsoever until I got home and decided to write the original letter.
I am disturbed by your implication that July 4th is at all a religious holiday or that it has anything at all to do with thanking god for anything. It disturbs me because I would expect an organizer of a protest rally to have a basic working knowledge of our government and it’s history. July 4th is celebrated in America as Independence Day marking the date in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress marking our freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was not and never has been a religious holiday and there is no reason for anyone to think that a TEA party being held on that day would be overtly Christian in nature.
Regarding “Atheists Day” being the same as April Fools day, I have already dealt with this insulting accusation twice on this website:
The truth still remains, you may have advertised barbecue, but you did not advertise the rally as a Theocratic promotion in any way whatsoever.

“In God We Trust” and Lying Lips

The second letter that appeared in the July 15th edition of the Dodge County News follows:

Dear Editor, I would like to reply to Mr. Oxley’s opinion.

To start off, I would like to pray for you. I am so sorry that your soul is lost and you don’t know God. You pass judgment on the preacher of Solid Rock Church. You are wrong. He is a very godly man. If you would take the time to read the Bible, you would know that the Lord detests lying lips but he delights in men who are truthful. A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself but the heart of fools blurts out folly. To end this, please look on a dollar bill. It tells you “in God we trust.” Eastman, we need God back so continue praying and coming together as God’s people. We can win. P.S. Come and join us at Solid Rock Church of God. Thank you, LP Source

Never, at any point, have I called Rev. Hicks “ungodly” – I have no doubt in my mind that he is a man of integrity and one having the best of intentions. I don’t see at any point that I passed judgment on the man himself but rather on the speech that he gave and its contents. I have a problem with the focus of a tax rally being a return to Christian morals, as if this country was founded upon that in the first place. I have read the Bible, many times from cover to cover,  done countless word studies, spent countless hours defining and defending “cardinal” “sound” “orthodox’ doctrine. I would say that the Bible is the single most destructive thing to Christianity for more reasons than I can list. There is a website that lists quite a few good reasons though, The Skeptics Annotated Bible. Give that a ponder and see why I don’t really cato a more religious state of mind even then it was only found on some coinage. The dollar bill did not receive the slogan until the 1950’s, just a few years before the Gold Standard was discontinued and Federal Reserve Notes became the dominant currency. These notes are only backed by a promise from the Federal Reserve Bank and the motto that those banking heads trust in god. Coincidentally the value of the dollar has been plummeting quickly since these events occurred. Perhaps we should trust less in God and more in gold, silver, platinum, and copper; all being tangible things of real value. In response to your invitation to visit the church, I may just do that some day. I have been once before many years ago when I was searching for a church that was congruent with my former Full Gospel, Charismatic, and strictly orthodox beliefs. Thank you for your response and your well intentioned prayer.

in the next post you will read the Pastor’s response to my letter, and my responses to him.

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Keep reading: My Gripe with the TEA Party: The Pastor Responds