The question of whether the Tea Party will have a real impact on American politics (yes!) has evolved into a new debate: Is the Tea Party really about more than taxes?

Glenn Beck, who invokes the semi-mythical “Black Robe Brigade” — fighting preachers he claims led the American Revolution — as a model for a new generation of activists seems to think so.

On public radio, Bryan Fischer, a leader of the fundamentalist American Family Association, sternly instructed a libertarian Tea Party activist that her movement was religiously rooted whether she wanted it to be or not. A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute backs him up, revealing that 57 percent of self-identified Tea Partiers agree that “America is and always has been a Christian nation.”

So is the Tea Party a religious movement, too?

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