Beliefs Faith 2016 News Politics

5 faith facts about Ted Cruz: It’s all about God’s work

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz hugs running-mate Carly Fiorina just before announcing that he is suspending his campaign for president at a campaign event during Indiana primary night in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Bergin -

(RNS) Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign after losing the critical Indiana primary Tuesday (May 3).

As he does in every move he makes, every breath he takes, he thanked God. It mirrored his hopeful beginning when his Iowa caucus victory speech on Feb.1 rang out with “To God be the glory.”

Cruz, 45, has been God-first across a lifetime — from his childhood in evangelical private schools, up through his 2012 Senate race aimed squarely at social conservatives, up to his campaign kickoff at Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University.

By the end of Super Tuesday + Super Saturday, he was giving up the glory for a rising number of winning states.

But he stalled as the primaries moved to the East Coast terrain of New York real estate mogul Donald Trump. Shortly after the polls closed in Indiana, Cruz came somberly to the podium and announced it was over.

“From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed. The voters chose another path, and so with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”

Here are five faith facts that shaped Ted Cruz and the way he conducted his campaign.


RELATED STORYWhat do 2016 election contenders believe? Check the RNS ‘5 faith facts’ series


1. He’s a lot like his dad.

Ted liked to quote Rafael Cruz on the campaign trail, urging people to vote by God’s values — in Christian conservative form.

Rafael Cruz was a Catholic Cuban refugee working in the energy industry when Ted was born in 1970 but in 1975 became a born-again Christian. By the time Ted was a teen, Rafael was a traveling preacher. Now, Rafael pastors a church in Dallas and directs the Purifying Fire Ministries, ministering in the U.S., Mexico and Central America, and campaigns for Ted among pastors.

Ted’s home church is Houston’s First Baptist. He likes to tell folks, “I’m Cuban, Irish and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

2. God has always been a theme in his political roles.

“Believing is not simply sitting aside and doing a polite little golf clap,” Cruz told the congregation at his friend Robert Jeffress’ congregation, First Baptist Dallas. “Believing is putting everything you have, your heart, soul, life, putting everything (into) standing for what’s right.”

His campaign website and his U.S. Senate biography touted among his accomplishments as solicitor general of Texas that he fought for the “constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol and the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Cruz has said he is judicious about mentioning religious views. In 2013, he told David Brody, a host at the Christian Broadcasting Network, that politicians have “a special obligation to avoid being a Pharisee, to avoid ostentatiously wrapping yourself in your faith. Because I think in politics, it’s too easy for that to become a crutch, for that to be politically useful.”

Even so, he was back this summer on Brody’s show, where he calculated that if all evangelicals — including more than half who he says sat out the last election — “will simply show up and vote our values, we’ll turn this country around. We can turn our country around, but only if the body of Christ rises up.”

Evangelicals did show up — to vote for Trump.

3. Forget “dog whistle” politics: Cruz has a trumpet.

Cruz did not tiptoe around God in his politics. That was clear from his speech to a cheering crowd at Liberty University (where students are fined if they don’t show up for guest speakers, according to The Washington Post).

“From the dawn of this country, at every stage, America has enjoyed God’s providential blessing. Over and over again, when we face impossible odds, the American people rose to the challenge,” Cruz said.

He offered the standard conservative checklist: repealing Obamacare and Common Core, abolishing the IRS, securing the border, protecting privacy and gun rights, honoring the Constitution and more. But he warned that this all stands on realizing “that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who witnessed the speech, said, “Senator Cruz seems to understand that the next generation of believers is looking for conviction — not a milquetoast version of the Gospel that requires nothing.”

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Cruz has won the group’s annual Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll among 2,000 social conservatives. Perkins said Cruz wins because they “are looking for leaders who will take clear, unequivocal stands on the challenges facing our nation, not nuanced politically correct speeches.”

4. Religious liberty is his basic stump speech theme.

“In the past month, we have seen religious liberty under assault at an unprecedented level,” Cruz told the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition outside Des Moines in April.

Like many candidates, Cruz did a video for the Circle of Protection, a group of 100 Christian leaders working against global poverty. He leveraged a call to care into an attack on the federal policies he says interfere with individual and faith-based charities’ religious liberties.

Cruz is an ardent Zionist. But speaking to an Arab Christian audience in Washington in September 2015, he ran straight into a wall of disapproval by people who think Israel has taken Palestinian lands illegally and driven out Christians as well as Muslims. Politico said Cruz was booed off the stage for calling for absolute support for Israel, accusing those who disagreed of being “consumed with hate” and concluding, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”

5. On the campaign trail …

For months, Cruz bobbed and weaved around Donald Trump with little criticism of the New York billionaire’s ideas or his personal attacks on women, Muslims and others. But by mid-January, the gloves were off. Cruz tried to score on Trump by saying his rival embodies “New York values.”

That backfired pronto. Trump flattened Cruz by citing how much the world admired the heroism of his city in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And critics hammered him for being provincial — or worse, for sneering at a renown for diversity, and a significant number of Jews.

By early spring, Trump was routinely calling him “Lying Ted.” His alliance with Carly Fiorina as a running mate brought him no new clout with voters. And early in the evening of the Indiana primary, Trump became the prospective nominee of the GOP.

(Cathy Lynn Grossman is a senior national correspondent for RNS) 

About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues

51 Comments

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  • Someone posted this elsewhere on the site.

    >>>Cruz is a domionist. “A Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey conducted between February 20th and February 22nd of Republican voters, found that an astonishing 57 percent of Republicans want to dismantle the Constitution, and establish Christianity as the official national religion. Only 30 percent oppose making Christianity the national religion.”

    http://www.politicususa.com/2015/02/25/57-republicans-dismantle-constitution-christianity-national-religion.html

    >>>Not only is dominionism not good for Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Catholics, athiests, agnostics, etc., etc., it it not good for Christians. Dominionists want their kind of Christianity to be the law of the land, so if you’re not a particular brand of fundamentalist then your beliefs will be trampled as well.

    http://religionnews.com/2016/01/15/by-new-york-values-did-cruz-mean-jewish/

  • I just wanted to say God Bless you and your family and thankyou for putting God back into America. We need to get back into what our founding father’s had made and formed our country on God ,and prayer. Thankyou for putting God back into God Bless America.

  • Just remember that not every American goes to your church — and that all of your American equals have as much right to their own personally chosen and cherished beliefs and values, and to their own private and legal life decisions, as you do to your own personally chosen and cherished beliefs and values, and to your own private and legal life decisions.

    Would you have them second-guess your chosen beliefs, or wield “supervisory” authority over your cherished values, or make your private life decisions for you? Would you live your life according to their equally sacred and inviolate spiritual/existential moral codes?

    It’s all about how we treat each other, and the Golden Rule applies.

  • Where do you think the Golden Rule came from? Whether you realize it or not, if you have a set of morals, beliefs and values, they had their beginnings with God. It seems that Mr Cruz is standing up for religious freedoms rather than imposing them and preaching hate against certain groups as has another leading candidate.

  • What people claim about themselves and how they really are can be quite different. For example, the claim that Cruz is for religious liberty must be reconciled with how he views the religious liberties of those who bellieve that same-sex marriage is acceptablle to God. See, the difference between liberty and privilege is the absence or presence of equality. Without equality, liberty for all become privilege for some.

    And his claim to follow God must be reconciled with his carte blanche support for Israel regardless of how Israel treats the Palestinians. If Israel does not treat them as equals, again, Cruz is supporting privilege, not equality.

    Now we should note that the Scriptures do not smile on those who use privilege to oppress, marginalize and/or neglect the vulnlerable, those who are without privilege.

  • There are no gods. Morals and values come from peoples and cultures, absolutely not from a supernatural being. All religions hijacked local values and norms and made them into godly laws.

  • Ted Cruz is the Orwellian nightmare.

    “Religious Liberty” to him means enforced Christianity.
    America is dying before our eyes.

    Since 9/11 America has reacted to every crisis with religion first.
    We have thrown out the first amendment because in our ignorance we didn’t want to understand it.

    Even if the republicans lose this election, America is revealing its preference:
    It wants to be Iran.

  • @Karen,

    The Golden Rule:
    “DON’T DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU DON’T WANT DONE TO YOU”

    In biology it is called innate reciprocity.

    It didn’t come from a god. It isn’t even complicated!!!
    Humans are social animals and of course this is the oldest social code in history – it requires no gods.

    Most animals (especially primates) create bonds through reciprocity. It is a function of survival! That is the irrefutable evidence. Don’t you dare tell me it came from a god if you can’t prove it.

  • While Cruz’s father has made some occasionally odd statements on the matter, I don’t see that Cruz himself is a dominionist, unless you so absurdly broaden the definition of the word, you include any person who believes religious expression has an equal place in public life with secular expression.

    To me, that’s a serious misuse of the word. Dominionism believes that every form and text of government, including the Constitution, should be literally scrapped in favor of Old Testament law. No reasonable person can attribute that desire to Cruz, who not only is a big fan of the Constitution, but is a strict constructionist regarding its meaning and application. You can’t be a Constitutional literalist and a dominionist at the same time. It’s like being a vegan and a cattle rancher.

  • Curt, explain how Cruz’s position in favor of freedom of conscience and religion for business people who don’t want to be forced to provide a service connected to gay marriage is a violation of said freedom.

    That sounds pretty Orwellian to me.

  • And how does Cruz’s support for the right of Israel to exist within defensible borders and to engage in acts of self-defense is wrong.

    Would you want to see Israel dead?

    Are you willing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to a century’s worth of Arab Muslim rejection of a Jewish state of any size, no matter how miniscule?

    If so, why? Just curious.

  • And why do you think Cruz’s support for the right of Israel to exist within defensible borders and to engage in acts of self-defense is wrong?

    Would you want to see Israel dead?

    Are you willing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to a century’s worth of Arab Muslim rejection of a Jewish state of any size, no matter how miniscule?

    If so, why? Just curious.

  • Max, you’re being silly again. The fact that virtually every society in history has some form of the Golden Rule embedded in its culture is hardly a refutation of the notion that it came from a divine origin. In fact, the universality of the notion is exactly what you’d expect were there a divine being.

    You’ve neither proven or disproven anything.

  • Fe Cools, I agree there are no gods, with one obvious exception — the One who created you.

    Sorry you’re so mad at Him.

  • Jack,

    “silly”

    You claimed Zombies (Matthew 27:52) are the source of morality.
    Now who is being silly?

    I have proof of morality. but no proof of god.
    That leaves us with morality without a god.

  • @Jack,

    Are you denying Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio
    are throwing Jesus at every problem !?

    The GOP pandering to the religious is a two-fisted disaster:

    1) Jesus fixes nothing by himself.
    2) Invoking Jesus distracts us from talking about serious solutions!

    The whole business is wasteful. Religion is in the way.

    According to the United Nations, the OECD, The Legatum Institute, The U.S. National Intelligence Council, Congress, the CIA, business publications and countless studies:

    The U.S. ranks 23rd in the world in terms of infrastructure, well behind that of every other major advanced economy. The American Society of Civil Engineers report card was a “D,” and the cost of bringing all systems up to adequacy, (not an “Ideal”) was estimated at $2.2 trillion.

    How will Jesus fix that??

  • It’s always so sad to see Christianists attack anyone who doesn’t share their political agenda they hide behind “faith.” Look how Cruz apparently agrees with the duck guy, that those who don’t suffer from the mental disorder, homophobia, should be eliminated.

    The more Christianists shriek, “you MUST bow down to my political agenda I call ‘God,'” the more Americans will walk away from all churches and defeat Christianist candidates.

  • Sorry, Jack, “religion” made Phil Robertson demand genocide for LGBT Americans at Cruz’s rally.

  • Get real, Jack, you’re endorsing a special right for those who suffer from the mental disorder, homophobia to attack LGBT Americans and violate existing laws. There’s just no point in trying to put lipstick on your pig. Baking a cake is not a “religious act.” Those who claim “Homophobia is Holy!” are in the minority among American Christians:

    http://publicreligion.org/2015/04/attitudes-on-same-sex-marriage-by-religious-affiliation-and-denominational-family/#.VbUcrRNVhBe

  • @Carrotcakeman,

    You are right – as always!
    And I was beginning to think i was the only one who noticed Phil Robertson’s outrageous call for genocide at Cruz’s rally.

    It is yet more evidence religion is not only untrue – it does more harm to society than good.

  • Jefferson summed up the difference between Christian and pre-Christian ethics quite neatly:

    “Their [the classical philosophers] precepts related chiefly to ourselves, and the government of those passions which, unrestrained, would disturb our tranquility of mind…In developing our duties to others, they were short and defective. They embraced, indeed, the circles of kindred & friends, and inculcated patriotism, or the love of our country in the aggregate, as a primary obligation: toward our neighbors & countrymen they taught justice, but scarcely viewed them as within the circle of benevolence. Still less have they inculcated peace, charity & love to our fellow men, or embraced with benevolence the whole family of mankind.” (cont.)

  • (Cont.) “His [Christ’s] moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids. A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others…The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.”

  • @Shawnie:

    HA! So Ted Cruz is on the right track to becoming Thomas Jefferson now?
    What balderdash!

    Jesus in the hands of a skeptic like Jefferson is defanged and philosophical.
    Jesus in the hands of a knee-jerk believer is CHAOS.

  • Karen, saying that the Golden Rule came from God is just one example of how religions typically take credit for all things deemed positive, and deflect responsibility for all things deemed negative. A flip-flop of that notion would be much closer to accurate.

  • Why did you think I cited the Golden Rule, Karen? I used it because I embrace it! I’m an atheist, not an antitheist.

    I believe the Golden Rule means respecting others’ personal boundaries, beliefs, belongings, bodies, bedrooms, & business — not to mention their rights, privacy, & equality — as I would have others respect my own.

    I believe people’s spiritual/existential boundaries are sacred. What lies within is private. Open-minded queries may be answered at the owner’s discretion, but unsolicited commentary is strictly forbidden. Faith, fundamentally, is subject to personal boundaries. Contradictory claims presume inequality, advocate trespass, and sanction cruelty; they profane other people’s beliefs.

    I believe it is wrongful for any belief system or believer to disrespect another’s boundaries. I believe it is blasphemous for any shepherd or sheep to claim rights to another’s pasture. And I believe such ungodly trespass leads to inhuman cruelty.

  • Jack, as an atheist, I chose my own principal guiding values: inequality-lessness, trespass-lessness, and cruelty-lessness.

    My values have served me well in untangling the “religious freedom” knot and deciding how to treat others.

    For example, the question of whether to sign a gay couple’s marriage license, prepare their wedding cake, sell them flowers, or cater their reception answers itself, because I respect their boundaries and privacy, and realize they’re my rightful customers, not my privileged business. And since they’re my equals and their beliefs are theirs, it would be immoral for me to judge them or subject them to my own values. My morality binds me, not them.

    That last thing America needs is for us to hold each other to our own beliefs and subject each other to our own creeds’ demands.

  • Let’s not forget that running your own for-profit business is a privilege, not a right. That’s why you have to get a business license, which is granted in exchange for your agreement to follow all applicable laws — including anti-discrimination laws.

    Note that customers are free to pick and choose the businesses they patronize. (There’s no such thing as a “customer’s license”.)

    The legal remedy for a for-profit business that wants to pick and choose its customers is to convert that business into a co-op.

  • Has Fox News told you about the politicians and corporations causing extensive damage to our environment , to fish, forests, water, soils, species, to ocean and terrestrial ecosystem, to our planets atmosphere. The president of France has requested legislation be drafted to have those causing extensive environmental damage face criminal prosecution for violating humanities environmental right to peace and security for acts of ecocide under the mandate of the International Criminal Court
    What science is those who are seeking the office of the President of the United stated using to substantiate the action they plan to take in response to the damage being done to our planets atmosphere and ecosystems. Should it be found they acted with willful blindness should they face criminal prosecution . This is about the negligence some politicians are using in response to serious threats to our future, acts we intend to have recognized as acts of ecocide. This is about the evolution of…

  • Cruz is just what America needs to deal with the realities of both national and international issues: A president whose decision-making process is driven entirely by myths, delusions, fallacies, hallucinations, fantasies, and magical thinking.

  • I don’t understand why some people separate “Catholics” from “Christians.” After all, Catholics were pretty much the only Christians for some 1500 years before the protestant reformation. (And, yes, I am including the eastern orthodox religions under the “Catholic” umbrella.)

  • We r all created by. The only one an true God. Creator of all an he sent his only son Jesus Christ the savior to the world an he only is the way the truth an life said his father God. An first one needs forgiveness of sin. Called born again then learn to live God’s way thru Jesus which is the word of God the. Bible an when u see u r need an accept Jesus an start living for the Lord u will hv no doubts Christ in us an then he changes ur thinking doing even looks not being conformed to this world’s standards. An it’s a privilege to Hv this an live a meaningful fruitful life. Yes praying looking to help anyone first to salvation an a need as possible that’s the love of God in ones heart. As Jesus said without me u can do nothing that’s spiritually an naturally r ways r being conformed to his, we r free to live in righteousness not sin. An it’s God’s commandments we r to obey an live by not what we think . Jesus said u shall know the truth an it shall set u free.Paula Garms…

  • Uh, you’re kidding right? Jesus’ Commandment: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Translation for atheists : The Golden Rule

  • There is a huge difference between protestants and Catholics. As a protestant, I don’t believe in the Pope or what he says. He is just a religious man. I believe in the teachings of the Bible. I don’t have to have a priest or church read and tell me what to believe. They can point to Biblical verses where I can read it myself. Another differences include Mary was the mother of Jesus. I do not worship or pray to her or her mother, Ann. Another huge difference is I do not believe in the saints. I pray to Jesus (God). I don’t pray to any saints because they are just humans who are dead. I also do not believe in statues of the virgin Mary or others. The Bible mentions no idols.

  • I don’t like people who use religious to justify their actions.

    A few years back, I discovered that a VP at a company I worked with was extremely religious. I’d worked with the man for a decade and found him to be honest, hard working, well spoken, and a good leader. Someone I respected greatly.

    I also worked with another man who wore his religion on his sleeve, constantly throwing it about, condemning others for working on sundays, telling us how a new Muslim employee was going to hell, etc…

    That experience was illuminating, because I’ve never been very religious, and found myself disgusted by the latter person, but it was the man I respected that at first confused me, and later I gained even more respect for.

    Politicians press how much more religious they are than others: BAD.

    I trust the man or woman who follows their beliefs in their hearts and minds, not thrusts them onto others or insists others’ beliefs are somehow less strong.

  • Michelle-

    Our founding father’s specifically wrote our governing documents to create a clear separation of Church and State. So God was never “in” America as I think you think it was.

    I think maybe you might want to worry about putting God a little closer to home. How’s your good works lately?

  • your a joke. really showing your ignorance. let me guess you are an atheist/evolutionist which there is zero evidence to support that theory…. yes theory. wheres the evidence for evolution? where is it. look into to validity of the so called evidence in the text books for your god evolution. what little they claim to have is manufactured and falsified. who believes in a fantacy now. don’t believe me instead of believing what your told how about verifying the facts for your self. So called intellectuals got to love he. just cattle following the herd. a shame.

  • Atheist Max, nice try ! But as is typical of atheists, they always mis-quote. You are quoting Confiscious not Jesus! And the difference is enormous. Jesus said ” Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.” Confiscious is only self protecting. Jesus is interested in inspiring a positive action of looking out for your neighbor, family friend etc. Not thinking only of yourself. Love takes action for the benefit of others. Confiscious does not but takes a non active self preserving posture. One says do something good for another, the other says just don’t do anything bad to someone. In a pinch – I think I’d rather have Jesus around than Conficious.This is what Jefferson was talking about.

  • This article came out before the Cruz’s Sex Scandal hit. Logon on to Twitter and search #CruzSexScandal. Why does Robert Jeffries support Donald Trump if Ted Cruz is his friend? Why was Cruz so deeply involve with Amanda Carpenter, someone other than his wife? Why was he on the Ashley Madison list? Why may he be on the DC Madam list? Why did he plant the false story of Ben Carson dropping out? Why did his super pac pay Carly Fiorina’s super pac $500,000? This list goes on and on.

  • I voted for Cruz. With acolytes like Kenneth Copeland and Glen Beck, Donald Trump becomes more appealing. Proclaiming, for political gain, someone to be anointed by God, is a most profound way to take the Lord’s Name in vain. We all need to pray for discernment.

  • It’s all about God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44), a major theme of the entire Bible, as the only hope of government for persons of all the nations, which it shall greatly bless (Isaiah 11:1-9).

  • I don’t care what Cruz believes, as long as he doesn’t inject it into public policy. He’s my senator from Texas, and his performance in that office has been abysmal from my perspective. Not only does he have no compassion for the less fortunate, his antics have made him an embarrassment. I’m glad he has dropped out, because the prospect of a Cruz presidency is truly terrifying.

  • In Oozy Croozy’s world, religion exists solely for the purpose of his own gain. Period.

  • Just because you can find lies like that on twitter and elsewhere does not make it so. And since you can’t prove that the rumors are true (after all it came from a Trump source) then why repeat something you can’t prove? Everything you wrote as a question have been proven to be all lies. You wrote your comment a month ago and you know that has all died down because it wasn’t true.

  • Ted Cruz is the only conservative Christian and God has opened doors for him and blessed him. Trump & Hillary are sleazy liars. #NeverSleazy Trump #Never Hillary #Only Ted Cruz

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