The line which divides friend from foe within the Tea Party ought not be belief in God, but recognition of individual rights. In a world where government acted only to secure those rights, religious freedom would be assured for the theist and atheist alike.

Agreeing with an atheist like Rand about individual rights, and working in tandem to affect their protection, in no way compromises religious conviction. Atheism is not contagious. Why then vet political relationships with a religous test? What end does that serve? We don’t expect religious cohesion with our mechanics, co-workers, grocers, or in other incidential relationships. Why expect it in our political coalitions?

The Tea Party’s wise focus on economic and legal concerns ought to exclude religious affiliation as it excludes social issues. The goal of affecting public policy consistent with the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets is explicitly secular. The Constitution separates church from state, if not in the way some secular revisionists would have us believe, making religious affliation irrelevent to constitutional activism. In the face of statist opponents who are stengthened by division in the movement, Tea Partiers ought to unite on principles of civil government and leave religious distinction to religious forums.