Cruz Praises Pope Francis’ Witness on Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Senator Ted Cruz emerged as a powerful defender of Pope Francis Wednesday as he highlighted the Pope’s critical leadership on social issues in print and on the air.  In an op-ed for The Federalist, Ted Cruz talked about Francis’ record of defending life and the definition of marriage:

Without life, there is no sacred union; without marriage, there is no life within a family. Faith has never survived the absence of them both. “It is God who gives life,” Pope Francis has powerfully said. “Let us respect and love human life, especially vulnerable life in a mother’s womb.”

I couldn’t agree more. The family faces similar threats, he has explained: some in power are attempting to “disfigure God’s plan for creation” by “the growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage.”

Cruz also called out the media for focusing on his message to Congress without focusing on the broader message of his visit: That the practice of religion can’t be confined behind closed doors:

In the first-ever papal address to Congress, Pope Francis continues to blaze a trail by going where no predecessor has been. The media will cover that extensively, but will they cover his trip to feed the homeless in DC, or to meet with students in East Harlem, or to shake hands with prison inmates in Philadelphia? That’s the true heart of the church—beyond any four walls in Congress.

Cruz’s message wasn’t confined to his op-ed; he also joined Megyn Kelly on Fox News, where he took on Democrats for their selective focus on Pope Francis’ agenda:

MEGYN KELLY: As Howie mentioned in the hours before the Pope landed, Senate Democrats killed a ban on late term abortions. Something the Catholic Church isn’t exactly in favor of if you paid any attention at all to Sunday school. Joining me now, republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz. Senator, thank you very much for being with us tonight. So, let’s start with that. Do you think there’s a reason why the media is trying to draw some sort — draw this is some sort of a rift between the Republicans running for office, all of them and the Holy Father.

TED CRUZ: Oh, of course there is. You know, it’s great to be with you, Megyn. You know, the mainstream media, they’re not fair and impartial observers. They are partisans. They are Obama’s number one protectors and they are rooting for Hillary. And, you know, Pope Francis has been an incredible voice for life. He’s been an incredible voice for marriage, he’s been an incredible voice for religious liberty, and on all three of them, we are seeing an assault that is unprecedented in the history of our country. You know, the Democrats in the media don’t want to talk about the fact that today Senate Democrats stood virtually united in support of late term abortion. They don’t want to talk about this horrifying Planned Parenthood videos that show them selling the body parts of unborn children. They don’t want to talk about the assault on marriage that Pope Francis has stoop up against. And they certainly don’t address the continued assault on religious liberty. You know, in Egypt when we saw 22 Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS and the Obama White House described it, as they’re being killed because of their Egyptian citizenship. Pope Francis powerfully spoke out. He said their blood confesses Jesus Christ. I’m very glad to welcome Pope Francis to America. I’m very glad he’s with us.

KELLY: And some are suggesting while these Republicans are going to have to avoid photo ops with the Pope because they don’t want the distinctions drawn. And yet, nobody talked about, you know, the point you made about Christians and whether the United States and this administration has done enough to protect them which has been an ongoing narrative in some media outlets. Or, for example, forget the abortion thing which we’ll talk about in a minute. But what about Little Sisters of the Poor?

CRUZ: Yes.

KELLY: Which the Obama administration has successfully sued to make them give the okay in writing, such that their employees can give contraception, which Pope Francis may not love.

CRUZ: Well, Megyn, you’re exactly right. And as you know, I had pledged that if I’m elected president, on the first day in office, I will instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the Planned Parenthood and these horrific videos. And on the first day in office, I will instruct every federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends that day. And that will mean among other things, that the case against The Little Sisters of the Poor will be dismissed. I mean, this is an administration, the Obama administration that is litigating against a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters, attempting to force the nuns to pay millions of dollars of fines under ObamaCare in order to try to force them to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. It makes no sense. It’s radical and extreme. And I’m curious if the mainstream media will ask Democrats how they feel about litigating against nuns while the Holy Father is here in America.

KELLY: Oh, I’m sure he’s on the other side. This is what you’re up against, though, as a Republican running for the White House. You know, the media chooses to focus on the divide between the Republican Party and this Pope when it comes to issues like immigration or climate change, income inequality. Okay, those may be legitimate flips. But where’s the focus on the fact that he’s going to go addresses the Joint Session of Congress that just today refused to sign off on a ban of 20 week abortions, of a five-month-old baby in the womb. They stood up and said, we don’t want to ban that. Even if there’s an exception for the life of the mother. We’re still not going to get behind that. That is not highlighted. And yet, the same media — but the same media in The New York Times, look at the headlines they put up about Nancy Pelosi. On September 24th, look at this: “In Pelosi, strong Catholic faith and abortion rights co-exist.” That’s fine. You can co- exist if it’s pro-choice. But you don’t want to co-exist when it comes to income equality or immigration, you need to avoid your photo ops with the Pope.

CRUZ: Well, you know, the media as I said are partisans. And they’re trying to distract the public. They’re trying to lie to the public. But there is power to truth. You know, one of the reasons I think that our presidential campaign has such tremendous momentum. Because speaking the truth, speaking it with a smile has power. You know, Megyn, coming out of that first debate that you moderated, you know, in the hundred hours that followed that debate, our campaign raised over a million dollars in 100 hours as people all over the country went to TedCruz.org contributed. The second debate that just ended, we raised over a million, not in a hundred hours, in 48 hours, less than half as much time.

KELLY: How does that compare to your compadres running for the office?

CRUZ: Well, none of them had announced their results. So that suggests that they didn’t do all that well. What I can tell you is in the campaign so far out of 17 Republican candidates, our campaign has raised the most money. We have had some 300,000 contributions. The average contribution is $81. People go to TedCruz.org.

KELLY: Interesting.

CRUZ: And they’re looking for someone to tell the truth. To stand up — try to speak with precision.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: There’s like a dollar fee for making you go through the process. All right. Senator Cruz, it’s always great to see you.

CRUZ: It’s great to be with you, Megyn. Thank you.

KELLY: All the best.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action.