COMPARING THE TEA PARTIERS TO JESUS (SERIOUSLY)…. Prominent right-wing activist David Barton recently equated anti-government zealots in the so-called Tea Party “movement” to the Founding Fathers. Yesterday, Barton went a little further, comparing the far-right activists to Jesus Christ. Seriously.

Kyle, the irreplaceable blogger at Right Wing Watch, posted the audio clip and transcribed Barton’s comments on a right-wing radio program. Barton told listeners:

“[T]he media has decided to take on the Tea Party and whack ’em because really, the Tea Party, if they have their way, the liberal left is going to be on the outside in this thing.

“So the best you can do is try to villainize these guys. You know, when Jesus got a really big following, they started saying ‘oh, he’s a wine-bibber, he’s a glutton,’ they started all the name-calling and finger-pointing; you know, he’s trying to install himself as king and he’s going to kick out Caesar, trying to get the Romans stirred up.

“So they used all these ridiculous charges and so this is nothing new.”

Got that? Tea Party extremism has become controversial … just like Jesus was controversial. For Christians, Jesus was sent by God to bring salvation to humanity. Tea Partiers, meanwhile, are enraged about taxes and the president’s birth certificate. How is it that I never noticed the similarities until now?

And who’s David Barton? If the name isn’t familiar to you, he’s worth reading up on. Barton became a celebrity in the religious right in the ’90s, serving as a pseudo-historian trying to convince fellow activists to reject the separation of church and state. Objective analysis of Barton’s materials found glaring factual errors — which often happens when someone pretends to be a historian.

More recently, Barton helped write the absurd Texas curriculum standards, despite his lack of credentials; became a faculty member at Glenn Beck’s “university”; became a close political ally of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R); and was the subject of a fairly devastating Keith Olbermann segment.

And now he’s publicly equating Tea Partiers with Jesus. The hilarity never ends.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.