Religious extremism, once been relegated to the fringe of American politics, has broken through and now is a policy platform for Republican presidential candidates. Championed by Ted Cruz, his campaign is an affront to the Constitution that he claims to love so dearly and the religious pluralism that our nation was founded on. It’s a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who don’t happen to follow Cruz’s perverse interpretation of fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christianity.
Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, made some extremely alarming remarks to South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley, in which she asserted that her husband was uniquely able to deliver a “combination of the law and religion,” which sounds alarmingly like a Christian version of the sharia law that Cruz was so terrified about Muslims imposing on Texas:
Explaining why she is supporting and campaigning for her husband, Heidi Cruz said “we are at a cultural crossroads in our country” and that she feels she and her husband “can be in this race to show this country the face of the God that we serve — this Christian God that we serve is the foundation of our country, our country was built on Judeo-Christian values, we are a nation of freedom of religion, but the God of Christianity is the God of freedom, of individual liberty, of choice and of consequence.
She went on to say that, “I think that’s something that this country really needs to be reminded of, is that Christians are loving people, are nonjudgmental people, but there is right and wrong, we have a country of law and order, there are consequences to actions and we must all live peaceably in our own faiths under the Constitution. And Ted is uniquely able to deliver on that combination of the law and religion.”
It is astonishing to see a presidential candidate openly espousing the end of separation of church and state, and it’s why Ted Cruz’s candidacy is so dangerous. If he somehow gets elected, we could see our nation of tolerance and diversity turn into a Republic of Gilead-style theocracy, and he’s not even being shy about it. This is a man who insists that he swears to defend the Constitution but then proclaims that our rights come from God; who took to the podium following his primary win in Iowa and yelled what was essentially the English equivalent of Allahu Ackbar; who manufactures the false narrative of “Christianity under attack” and swearing to defend “religious liberty” while working to deny those freedoms to members of other religions.
He’s the kind of false Christian who would shut his doors to Syrian children fleeing Russian bombs and chlorine gas; the kind who would openly endorses torturous waterboarding, the kind who goes to Flint, Michigan, to hand out clean water only to anti-abortion religious centers. He’s the kind of man who defends his endorsement from a preacher who said Hitler was a “hunter sent by God,” or that other endorsement by a man with links to white supremacy groups. This despicable man must not be allowed anywhere near the White House if we are to preserve the integrity of our union and our Constitution.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.