As further evidence of the growing influence of Christian nationalism inside the Tea Party Patriots, several speakers are scheduled to bring the culture war to center stage at a big Massachusetts Tea Party rally later this month. The Mass Tea Party Coalition, a confederation of forty local chapters around Massachusetts, in affiliation with the national Tea Party Patriots, has scheduled a Patriot Day Rally on Boston Common on Sunday, April 15th 2012. Scheduled speakers include longtime anti-gay crusader Scott Lively. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is also listed as “scheduled” to speak. Other confirmed speakers include Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and local voter suppression activist Tom Weaver.
The anti-gay Patriot Day rally is one of two competing Tea Party rallies scheduled on April 15, marking a growing schism inside Massachusetts Tea Party groups between those who do and those who don’t promote “social issues” like nativism and attacks on LGBT rights.
The other April 15 Tea Party event is a Tax Day rally in Worcester focusing on the budget and taxes. Ken Mandile of the Worcester Tea Party, an organizer of the rival rally, told the Boston Herald that, “Where the north of Boston and western Massachusetts groups get involved in social issues, we avoid them entirely. We see that as potentially divisive within the movement. …I don’t see it as what was the catalyst for the Tea Party movement. It was primarily the growth of the government deficits and debt.”