At the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Summit on Saturday, Ted Cruz discussed marriage and religious liberty at length:
In recent weeks, we’ve seen religious liberty come under assault in Indiana and Arkansas as those states acted to protect religious liberty, and the response from the Democratic Party and the mainstream media (although I repeat myself) was hysteria! You know, it wasn’t too long ago when religious liberty was an area of bipartisan agreement. Two decades ago, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which passed the United States Senate 97-3. It enjoyed the support of such famed right wingers as Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer. It was signed into law by Bill Clinton the Democrat. The laws that Indiana and Arkansas passed are substantively identical to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And yet what a sad statement, that today’s modern Democratic Party has become so radicalized in their devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all fifty states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty, that there is no room for the first right in the First Amendment to our United States Constitution.
We need to remember, America as a nation, we were founded by people fleeing religious persecution. They came to seek out a new land where people could seek out and worship the Lord God Almighty with all of our hearts, minds and souls, free of government getting in the way.
In the last year following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, a tremendous victory for religious liberty, where the federal government ruled 5-4, that the Federal government could not force a Christian company to violate the religious beliefs of its owners, and force them to pay for abortion inducing drugs under Obamacare. That decision was 5-4, one justice away from the Supreme Court saying, yes, a federal court can order a Christian company, or the Little Sisters of the Poor, or you and me to violate our religious beliefs. How far have we come? And yet in the aftermath of that, Senate Democrats in Washington introduced legislation to gut federal Religious Freedom Restoration. I gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor where I asked: When did the Democratic Party abandon religious liberty?
I was next to a giant picture of John F. Kennedy, who said, “I will not stand with the man who will not stand for religious liberty.” My father, Rafael Cruz, a pastor who many of you have gotten to know, my dad turned on C-SPAN and saw me next to JFK, which scared the living daylights out of him. He said, “goodness gracious! My son has gone native!” And I asked on the Senate floor: “Where are the JFKs? Is there no one in the Democratic party who will stand for religious liberty?” There were 55 Democrats in the Senate. Do you know how many voted to stand with religious liberty? Zero.
How extreme, how sad, how radicalized, has the Democratic Party become? And we see this especially in the marriage debate. On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments, in a case that threatens the court may well attempt to strike down marriage laws in all 50 states. I have to tell you one thing I think all of us are called to do between now and then, and especially on Tuesday: Fall to our knees in prayer.
…every one of us is called to prayer for our nation, but we’re also called to stand and fight! This week in the United States Senate I introduced a Constitutional Amendment to preserve the authority of the states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I also introduced legislation in the United States Senate, to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over any legislation seeking to tear down traditional marriage laws in the states. Iowa’s own Steve King introduced similar legislation in the federal House of Representatives.
We need leaders who will stand unapologetically for the Judeo-Christian values our nation was based on. We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in defense of marriage and life. We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in the defense of the Bill of Rights and the religious liberty of every American.
You know when Indiana and Arkansas were playing out, the Democratic Party was unified in attacking religious liberty. Today’s Democratic Party as a whole, it seems, has decided there is no room for Christians in the Democratic Party. We saw in Indiana a Christian owner of a pizza parlor, who was driven out of business because of her religious faith. Here in Iowa, you’ve all seen the very same thing with the Gortz House. I’ve had the privilege of visiting with Dick and Betty who own the Gortz House. A facility that was used for weddings for years, until they explained to a gay couple that they could not in good conscience allow the church facility on their property to be used for a homosexual wedding. They were sued in an effort for force this couple to violate their religious faith, and this couple in Iowa was forced through litigation to stop doing weddings. Today you cannot get a wedding at the Gortz House anymore, because the modern Democratic Party is so extreme, so intolerant there is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after and targeting believing Christians who follow the biblical teachings on marriage.
This is heartbreaking, but let me give you a word of encouragement: It is so extreme that it is waking people up! Religious liberty is an issue that unifies. It brings us together across religious lines, ethnic lines, political lines. It brings us together. And let me make a special message to the pastors and faithful here tonight: There is a particular calling to reach out to others in our community, others who don’t share our views on marriage and to minister to them in love. To minister in love to move their hearts and minds. To engage in civil discourse.
The left practices vilification and insults and spews hatred to people of faith. Our friends in the media facilitate it, playing “gotcha” questions all the time. And yet curiously they never ask people in the Democratic Party how they would react if their children became evangelical Christians. They never ask Democrats how they would react if their children became faithful Catholics who believe in the biblical teaching that those Democratic politicians are persecuting actively.
I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie “The Usual Suspects.” There’s a line in it that says “the greatest trick the Devil ever played was to convince the world he didn’t exist.” Here’s a corollary to that: The greatest trick the left has ever played, is to convince conservatives that Americans don’t share our values. We are a center-right country. We embrace diversity, but we also embrace the liberty of the Bill of Rights, of each and every American to worship God, to the dictates of their own conscience.
Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action.