Officials with the NAACP passed a resolution last week accusing the Tea Party of tolerating bigotry and failing to condemn the racist statements of some of its followers.
"We take no issue with the Tea Party," said Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP. "We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy."
However, he added, "we take issue with the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements. The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no space for racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in their movement."
Authorities with the oldest civil rights organization accused the conservative group of failing to discourage acts of racism and prejudice, citing allegations that Tea Party activists spat on Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), a noted civil rights activist, and called Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) the "N-word" during their protest of healthcare reform legislation, according to CNN.com.
Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, also claims that a Tea Party member called Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who is openly gay, an "F-word."
The resolution and accusations were quickly rebuked my leaders of the conservative group. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a Tea Party favorite, defended the anti-big government organization on her Facebook page on July 13, according to CBS News.
"The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand," said Palin.