GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is the anointed one, according to Iowa state campaign chairman Matt Schultz.
On Friday night at the Iowa State Fair, Cruz was joined by business owners who’ve had financial setbacks as a result of refusing services to same-sex couples. Calling them “heroes,” Cruz told a crowd of about 2,500 that Christians are being persecuted and there is a “war on faith,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
“We need someone who will go to Washington and throw the money-changers out,” Schultz said, referencing the Gospel story in which Jesus throws merchants out of a temple. “God raises special men and women to protect his people, and I believe this is one of those moments in time. … Ted Cruz is that man who God has prepared for this moment in time.”
Cruz was joined by Dick and Betty Odgaard, a Mennonite couple from Des Moines who chose to close their wedding chapel business rather than perform same-sex weddings after being fined for discrimination. He was also joined by Phillip Monk, an Air Force senior master sergeant who is against the repeal of the military’s former anti-gay policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and same-sex marriage.
“It’s not enough for these advocates to tear down marriage,” Cruz cautioned about the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling. “Now the Washington elites want to silence those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage. Their goal is to keep people of faith from being able to live by the dictates of their conscience.”
Earlier the same day, Cruz had been confronted by actress and LGBT activist Ellen Page, who accused him of backing discrimination against LGBT people. In the course of the 4-minute talk, Cruz actually said he does support discrimination — as long as everyone can do it.
“Imagine, hypothetically, you had a gay florist,” he said. “And imagine that two evangelical Christians wanted to get married and the gay florist decided, ‘you know, I disagree with your faith, I don’t want to provide flowers… And I would say the gay florist has every right to say, ‘if I disagree with your faith and don’t want to participate, you know what, there are lots of other people you can buy flowers from.'”
Cruz maintains that consequences for discrimination imposed on Christians who refuse services to LGBT people is religious persecution, as opposed to stopping a pattern of long-standing persecution against LGBT people.