There’s finally a group that’s hated more than Atheists: The Tea Party.

Being an atheist brings with it a certain amount of… disapproval… by the general public. It’s something that I, and many other atheists, have mentioned on more than one occasion. Polls regularly show that atheists are less electable to public office than Muslims and are often ranked as having the lowest approval ratings.

If you’re an atheist who’s been bummed that our popularity is in the toilet, here’s a bit of news that should help cheer you up: The Tea Party has a worse approval rating than Atheists.

Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.

Which is really weird when you think about it. The Tea Party seems to hold an inordinate amount of sway in the Republican party right now so why is it so unpopular with the general public ranking right down there with the Christian Right?

Probably because it’s more or less the Christian Right with new branding:

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

Scratch the average Tea Party member and you’ll find a far-right Christian fundamentalist working hard to move America towards a theocracy. Given this is it any surprise that the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry are doing so well in their bids to be the next President. At least among Republicans.

The silver lining in the cloud of the Tea Party’s dominance of the Republicans is that it may very well keep them out of the White House:

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.

Many in the Tea Party have ties to Christian Dominionism and are looking at both Bachmann and Perry as a means to their ends of converting our secular government into a theocratic one. If you thought George W. Bush’s reign was bad, try to imagine what a Bachmann or Perry administration would be like. Hopefully the disapproval of the general public for the Tea Party and it’s policies continues to remain high.

A Thank You for the Tea Party.

This is totally sincere and in no way sarcastic…

The Tea Party: Dragging everyone else down with them since 2008!

Tennessee Tea Partiers want to reject history and substitute their own.*

Pic of an intelligent Tea Partier.

Do you really want this guy setting your kid's educational standards?

They say that reality has a Liberal bias which probably explains why the Far Right is always trying to change it through revisionist history. Down in Tennessee the leaders of the Tea Party met up with state legislators to present their “demands” on what the government’s priorities should be.

One of those demands was for history books to be changed to be nicer to the Founding Fathers:

Regarding education, the material they distributed said, “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”

[…] The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.

via Tea parties issue demands to Tennessee legislators » The Commercial Appeal.

In other words, who gives a shit what some members of the minority did in our country’s history when there’s all these rich, white men to teach kids about? And all that bad stuff they might have done? Let’s pretend it never happened and just focus on the stuff we like.

Reality doesn’t conform to their black and white view of the world so rather than adjust their views to fit the facts they’re going to adjust the facts to fit their views, and then try to force it to be taught in public schools. In their world the United States is beyond reproach as are any of the major figures of its past that they like.

Found over at Slate.com.

*With apologies to Adam Savage.

The history of the Tea Party as presented by dummies.

I wasn’t going to post this, but the Sara Palin dummy at the end made me literally laugh out loud:

As found over at Pharyngula.