As with any movement this large, there is a struggle to define exactly what a tea partier is, and Dodge wants Christian conservatives marginalized. “That ilk wants government to regulate marriage and abortion… the tea party movement wants government to get off our backs,” said Dodge. “Government is big enough already, thank you very much.”
Dodge points out that a prominent Tea Party Patriot is Jewish, and that GOProud, a gay organization, has been very supportive of the tea party movement. “There are conservative Jews, there are conservative pagans – I’ve met greens who are conservative,” he says.
The key, the argument goes, is to advocate a big-tent style tea party. “We’re trying to attract as many people as possible, not say: ‘oh, if you’re not a Christian, you can’t be a member,’” said Dodge, who believes in a creator, but is not a Christian. “We don’t want to be seen as a bunch of fanatical, evangelical Christians.”