Ted Cruz exploits Paris attack to talk about Christian persecution while honoring anti-gay bigots
Senator Ted Cruz at CPAC (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz held a "Rally for Religious Liberty" on Saturday at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, featuring anti-gay activists and a football coach who violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

There, Cruz made the case that the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night proved that Christians are under siege, even though the attacks were on nightlife hot spots and not religious targets. Before the rally, Cruz told to reporters and said Christians need constitutional protections because they are most ostracized today, according to CNN.

During a moment of silence, Cruz said in a prayer about Islamic extremism, "Right now as we speak, it is persecuting Christians. It is persecuting Jews. It's even persecuting fellow Muslims. We ask for unity for the people of America, and we ask finally, that you bless this gathering in celebration of the liberty to worship you with all of our hearts, minds and souls."

Speakers honored by Cruz included Joe Kennedy, a Bremerton High School assistant football coach suspended for defying the his public school district's orders to stop leading students in Christian prayer at school football games.

Also invited were anti-gay activists Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Texas Pastor David Welch and Dick and Betty Odgaard, an Iowa couple who had to close their wedding business after refusing to serve a same-sex couple.

Last week, Cruz joined fellow GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to speak at the National Religious Liberties Conference. The Iowa event was organized by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who believes that LGBT people should be put to death.