Great Awakenings have been periods in our country when religion has become intensely personal for individuals. However, the beginnings of this great awakening we now behold is not religious in nature; it is purely secular. It deals not with church institutions, but with our government; not with the enlivening of ancient scriptures, but with bringing to life our founding documents; not with each individual’s incorporation into a congregation, but rather our relationships within our local communities; not with eternal salvation, but with liberty experienced in the here and now.
One important hallmark is exactly the same: This awakening deals with truth. Our founding principles, as displayed to us in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, no longer belong exclusively to the realms of history and scholarly study. These truths have come to life for millions of Main Street Americans in a very powerful way.
For more than 200 years, the United States has been a repository of the most incredible truth in the world about man’s desire for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and how to secure these as a nation. In some ways, this truth has been in a deep freeze just as a steak might safely be saved in your freezer at home. If you offer a frozen steak to a hungry guest, it’s of no practical use to him. But if you put that steak on the grill with a fire under it, suddenly the fat starts to sizzle, the juices begin to run, and you begin to smell the aroma of the roasting meat. That steak becomes enticing to the hungry person. The Tea Party movement is the vehicle, the tiny match, by which the fire is lit under old truths so that even those who have never given a thought to their unalienable personal rights and the role of government now have a voracious hunger to experience these truths in their own lives.