Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) said on Friday that the conservatives who make up the tea party are the "same white crackers" who fought the U.S. civil rights movement. In an interview with David Freedlander at the Daily Beast, the congressman issued a scathing indictment of the far right.

On the Republicans in the House of Representatives who are blocking any and all Democratic attempts to govern, Rangel said, "What is happening is sabotage. Terrorists couldn’t do a better job than the Republicans are doing.”

And he was equally blunt in his assessment of the tea party caucus and its adherents. "It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough."

He lamented that those in the tea party are turning on any Republican who does not toe the tea party line. "And now my friend Peter King is on their hit list. Peter King, a Republican, is considered a goddamn communist.”

“It has to do with whether or not in God we trust," Rangel said with regards to the tea party's desire to cut all social programs and destroy the social safety net. "I don’t know how much God played a role in the country, but it is everywhere...And I used to be an altar boy so that I can say, if you are talking about Jews and Christians and probably Muslims and Mormons, [there’s] the whole idea that...we are supposed to help the aged and provide health care and give kids a break and do all of these good things."

"What are we Democrats fighting for?" he asked. "We are not fighting for salvation and going to heaven. But we are fighting for Medicaid, Medicare, health care, education, jobs, helping old folks. And I’ll be damned, besides same-sex marriage, I don’t hear the voice of the church. As a matter of fact, the pope is talking he can’t judge gays. Well, damn it to hell, ask for another message from God. Here we were born. I mean, why is there a silence on old folks and a silence on poverty and a silence on kids?”

[hat-tip to TPM]