Ted Cruz Gets Fiery in South Carolina

Ted Cruz was at the #WeStandWithGod rally in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, and really fired up the 10,000-strong crowd about Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty.

You can watch the full video below and read the transcript below:

We’ve seen in recent weeks these horrific videos of Planned Parenthood. Let me tell you right now, innocent life should not be treated as a business transaction. Merchants of death who are selling the body parts of unborn children. I call upon every citizen of South Carolina, every American — watch these videos. Even if – especially if – you call yourselves pro-choice, watch these videos. See these senior Planned Parenthood officials coldly, callously selling the body parts and laughing about it. And ask youself, ‘Are those my values?’ On those videos, they are confessing to multiple felonies. It is a felony with a ten year jail term to sell the body parts of unborn children. And I’ll tell you something right now, if I’m elected president, on the first day in office, I will instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood, and to prosecute any and all criminal violations by that organization.

You know, next month in Congress, we’re gonna have a battle over defunding Planned Parenthood. And there are a whole lot of career politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, that really want to see a show vote happen – an empty show vote where we all get together, we all vote, nothing changes, and $500 million dollars of your taxpayer money and my taxpayer money continues to go to Planned Parenthood. This week, I was proud to take part in a conference call that reached out and included over 100,000 pastors across this country. Let me say to the pastors who are here, to the faith leaders who are here: Stand up and preach. Preach life from the pulpit! Preach life to the congregation! And we need to call on our leaders – no show votes, no empty votes, stand up and lead and defund Planned Parenthood today!

And then let’s talk about marriage. Just a couple of months ago, we saw the U.S. Supreme Court issue a decision, a fundamentally illegitimate, lawless decision that purports to tear down the marriage laws of every state. Let me tell you something, marriage existed long before the United States Supreme Court. Marriage existed long before the United States of America. Marriage was not ordained by any law in this country. Marriage was ordained by God Almighty. And Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit! … And I’ll make a promise to you if I’m elected president: Every justice I appoint to the United States Supreme Court will follow the law and follow the Constitution, and not impose their radical views on the people of America.

And third, let’s talk about faith, let’s talk about religious liberty. … Just last week, we hosted a rally in Iowa. Over 2500 people came together in support of religious liberty. And we brought to the stage heroes who told their stories of standing for faith and being persecuted. People like Dick & Betty Odgaard, a wonderful couple that owned a historic Lutheran church where they hosted weddings until two men came and demanded that they demand and celebrate their homosexual wedding. Now the Odgaards are devout Mennonites – they said very respectfully, very kindly, they could not host and celebrate that wedding because it is contrary to their faith. And the Odgaards were sued, they were persecuted, they paid a fine, and they have now gone out of the wedding business, shut down their business and laid off all of their employees. We listen to people like Atlanta’s fire chief Kevin Cochran, an African-American who grew up in a challenged neighborhood, grew up struggling, but he wanted all his life to be a fireman. And he became a fireman. He rose to the very pinnacle to be a fire chief of a major city in America. But Chief Cochran is also a Sunday school teacher. He wrote a book about Scripture; he wrote a book in his personal time about his faith and what the Bible teaches us. And they fired Chief Cochran for daring to write a book repeating what Scripture teaches us. This is the world we’re living in. If you think your faith is safe, next may be you. Next may be me. Next may be your pastor who preaches the Word from the pulpit. Next may be your sister or brother or mom who volunteers at the pregnancy crisis center.

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If you ask yourselves, ‘Why do we live in a country where life is under assault, where marriage is under assault, where faith is under assault?’ In the last election, 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home. 54 million! Is it any wonder we have the country we have when believers are not honoring the commands of the Scripture? We are told to be salt and light – you can’t be salt if you don’t come into contact with that which you are to preserve. You cannot be light if you’re hidden under a bushel. We are told to be watchmen on the wall and I will tell you this for believers across the country, we will stay home no longer!

Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.