Ted Cruz: Religious liberty 'never been more in peril'
April 2nd, 2014
02:51 PM ET
8 months ago

Ted Cruz: Religious liberty 'never been more in peril'

(CNN) – Sen. Ted Cruz struck a familiar refrain in a speech Wednesday, calling on Americans to defend religious liberty against the overreach of the federal government.

The freshman Republican senator from Texas cited two cases being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court fighting requirements in President Barack Obama's health care law.

"These are troubled times and religious liberty, the very first liberty in the bill of rights, the very first protection we have, has never been more in peril than it is right now," Cruz said to an audience at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Cruz, a dominate force in the tea party-backed contingent of the Republican Party, is considering a run for president in 2016.

His speech follows a long line of White House hopefuls who have addressed the evangelical Christian university, including former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who spoke at the school six months before the 2012 elections.

In delivering the address, Cruz also joins the likes of billionaire and outspoken conservative Donald Trump, "Duck Dynasty" reality show star Willie Robertson and pop singer Justin Bieber's mom, Pattie Mallette.

Cruz pointed to the law suit brought against the federal government by the family-owned craft store Hobby Lobby over a requirement under the Affordable Care Act that certain for-profit corporations provide contraception coverage to their workers.

At issue is whether secular, private corporations can claim religious exemption from federal laws.

The senator said this case "goes to the heart of religious freedom," as does as a similar Supreme Court case involving a Catholic charity for the elderly run by nuns.

Cruz has been a prominent voice of opposition against Obamacare, holding 21-hour speech protesting any government funding for the law, leading up to October's partial government shutdown.

The conservative firebrand's ongoing crusade against the sweeping heath care law follows the close of open enrollment Tuesday, and the White House announcement that the number of Americans who signed up for insurance under the law went beyond the coveted 7 million mark.

Cruz invoked civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in calling on the audience to take a stand against infringement on religious liberty.

"We are called to action. As believers we are called to action not to sitting quietly and hiding our faith under a bushel but to stand and speak no matter what the consequence," he said.

And perhaps seeking to get some more mileage out of an April fool's joke, Cruz said those Americans standing up for religious freedom have him so inspired, "I might get an eagle tattooed on my chest."

On April 1, the senator rolled up his sleeve during a television interview to reveal a fake tattoo - a nod to some street art Cruz saw in California last month, depicting him shirtless with a large eagle inked across his chest and a cigarette hanging from his mouth.


Filed under: Health care • Ted Cruz
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    According to Bill O'Reilly, our biggest threat is the war on Christmas. Cruz is just borrowing the idea from Billo.

    April 2, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. al thomas

    once again ted cruz is caribe not latino. he also looks like chavez. he's a typical
    cuban tin pot dictator

    April 2, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein

    Cruz really wants everyone to share his religious views and have no one else. I think that Cruz needs to wake up and be tolerant of everyone. If a religious organization (ie house of worship) doesn't want to subscribe to certain forms of birth control or allow abortion as a part of the health insurance that is fine. A for-profit corporation doesn't get that. When does a corporation go to a house of worship and pray? I think that would be never. Owners might, but that is their personal life and should not be reflected in the corporate structure. This is one reason why I won't go to Hobby Lobby.

    April 2, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Bert

    @Rick McDaniel
    Wow, you and yours are one paranoid bunch aren't ya!
    What about "Christians" trying to force their beliefs on everyone else FOR CENTURIES!
    And then there are the Jews, the Hindus, the Sikhs etc etc.
    Religious "Liberty" applies to ALL religions. It's in the 1st Amendment, you know, the one that comes BEFORE the 2nd.
    PS...how's Rafael doin with the whole " renouncing the Canadian citizen thing"?

    April 2, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Ol' Yeller

    @Sniffit
    "You mean the same Hobby Lobby who provides retirement plans to its employees and allows its retirement plans to invest heavily (millions and millions of dollars) into the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture contraception and abortion drugs and devices and into insurance companies that provide contraception and abortion coverage to millions and millions of people? THAT Hobby Lobby? "

    No, actually I think they mean the same Hobbly Lobby who had these same Health plans available to their employees which did offer and pay for these same contreceptives before the ACA went into effect and before the shyster attorney called them up and said, "Hey, did you know.... blah, blah, lawsuit, blah..."
    Sure weird how the party who hates, detests, and villifies Attorneys is the first to hire them a passle whenever they lose an election, get caught using their position to punish the people they swore to protect, have a wide stance, or want to impose their religious beliefs on others....

    Weird.

    April 2, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Islamists are trying to establish Islamic law in the U.S."

    Uh, so? Isn't that the point of "religious freedom"?

    Religious freedom applies to Muslims, Buddhist, the right to worship the GOP bagger himself, Aqua Buddha, etc.

    It is not just a freedom to be a "chri$tian".

    And since the secular law in the U.S.A. Is not based on Islam, nothing would change.

    Hell, secular law in America is not based on the laws of God or Christ, otherwise, there would be no capital punishment, which violates that whole "thou shalt not kill" thingy.

    April 2, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Shinden58

    I am all for separation of church and state. This Bozo Cruz doesn't get it. In 50 years if Muslims are the dominant population in the US will he still feel the same way? Does he want to be forced to have Islam mandated laws that are in conformity with the Koran?

    Hobby Lobby doesn't want to give out contraceptive drugs. What is next a Jahaova Witness employer that don't believe in drugs or doctors. They believe they can cure by prayer. Maybe I thing antibiotics are bad because they can lead to drug resistant microbes. So my company should not have to cover them. When you make the argument that way you see how stupid Hobby Lobby's position is.

    No thanks keep religion out of health care. Force companies to pay for all recognized drugs.

    April 2, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Duke

    WE are granted freedom of religion, not my religion allows me to tell you how to live whether or not youe believe what I do.

    If we allow ANY religion to impose it's values on everyone, even if it is "Your" religion, we are no better than the Taliban.

    April 2, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "poor clueless sniffit, blathering incoherently about irrelevant and unrelated nonsense to divert attention and cloud the issue with noise and drivel. and if they did as you suggested, you'd be the first one in here attacking them."

    And here I thought I was even being nice about it since I left off mentioning the fact that Hobby Lobby feels no "deeply held religious" compunction with utilizing slave labor from China, where they quite famously use abortion in a widespread manner for gender selection and population control.

    As to "if they did as I suggested," I'm not sure what you mean. It's laudable that they provide retirement plans for their employees. There are plenty of firms out there that will cater to special requests in terms of investment strategies for those things and will gladly avoid certain industries and corporations if you tell them you don't want any investments going in that direction. That proves the choice was more than available to Hobby Lobby to not invest in that manner...and yet still have retirement plans for employees that are simply invested elsewhere. I wasn't suggesting they should have just not provided retirement plans, nor was I suggesting that I'd criticize them for making the choice not to invest their money in corporations they supposedly disagree with. Rather, I was pointing out that their failure to be consistent highlights just how hypocritical and self-serving and full of BS they are with respect to this lawsuit.

    April 2, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Paul

    Sure, we have to protect religious freedom, absolutely, but that can't be the main focus for conservatives anymore.

    April 2, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Rick McDaniel
    "There are problems with religious liberty also." I think the founding fathers would disagree with you. Liberty is difficult but it is not a "problem". It is only a problem for intolerant people like Cruz.

    "Islamists are trying to establish Islamic law in the U.S." If there is a group that is trying to do this, we should not allow it because we are a country with freedom of religion..

    And if Christian extremists like Cruz try to promote a Christian Theocracy, we should not allow it because we are a country with freedom of religion.

    April 2, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Larry Linn

    "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." — from The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, written during the administration of President George Washington, signed by President John Adams, and unanimously approved by the Senate in 1797

    "This nation of ours was not founded on Christian principles." — John Adams

    "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."–Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1758

    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." – James Madison

    "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot." – Thomas Jefferson

    April 2, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    The next time a Christian radical extremist hides behind "freedom of religion", test their honesty:
    - demand religious icons on federal land and show up with a statue of Buddha
    - ask for prayer in the classroom and start with "praise Allah...."
    - want to swear in somewhere on the Holy Book? Show up with the Egyptian Book of the Dead

    Let's see just how "free" they are!

    April 2, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    S.B. Stein

    Cruz really wants everyone to share his religious views and have no one else. I think that Cruz needs to wake up and be tolerant of everyone. If a religious organization (ie house of worship) doesn't want to subscribe to certain forms of birth control or allow abortion as a part of the health insurance that is fine. A for-profit corporation doesn't get that. When does a corporation go to a house of worship and pray? I think that would be never. Owners might, but that is their personal life and should not be reflected in the corporate structure. This is one reason why I won't go to Hobby Lobby.
    -----------------------
    Cruz is a smart man, and he doesn't believe half of the things he says. GREED. It's all about GREED. They will use any piece of red meat available to gather voters to their cause, people like Cruz are ready and willing to supply the red meat.

    It's about creating a ruling class of plutocrats, but government is in the way. They see tax dollars being spent on this or that, and they feel that it is their personal money being spent and want to put an end to it. They want "their money" back, but the federal government is in the way. They want to make the rules, but the federal government is in their way. It always comes back to GREED.

    April 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    ""Islamists are trying to establish Islamic law in the U.S." "

    Christians are trying to establish Christian law in the U.S.

    FIFY

    Now...guess which proposition is easier to defend with concrete proof. Guess.

    April 2, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. anonymous

    What
    anonymous – Oh really? Sniffit is spot on. HL's retirement plan shouldn't invest in those companies if they REALLY believed in what their lawsuit says.
    ---

    the money is not theirs at that point you idiots. the money is placed into a fiduciary account that is controlled by others for the benefit of the people who own the pension fund. by law it is not company property to be played with and robbed as the government has done with social security. besides, those companies you take issue with also produce other drugs. why are the rabid lefties in here always looking to target and attack businesses? it is all you ever do.

    this is all about forcing others to pay for abortion drugs. people can go buy them themselves and pay for them no problem. where is it the government's job to force them to pay these drugs?

    April 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. khun cee

    Hypocrite burying the Republican Party with far right pandering...worse not out of conviction but greed for donations from the same givers that the Bush Backers wooed and ignored as 'flat earthers' he is as sincere as the great entertainer 'Rush' and i don't mean that great band.Us true Republicans on fiscal policy and illeagle immigration enforcement abhor this anti-
    Republican.

    April 2, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We are called to action. As believers we are called to action not to sitting quietly and hiding our faith under a bushel but to stand and speak no matter what the consequence," he said."

    Well, OK. But here's the deal. Luckily I still have the freedom to change the channel and not have to sit quietly watching those "hiding their faith under a bushel" speak their religious mantra each and every Sunday morning on national (and local) TV.

    Well, not just Sunday anymore, eh?

    So ... give me all you got, Ted Cruz. My T.V. remote against your soapbox ... deal?

    April 2, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Mr. Moderate

    Oh those poor, put upon "Christians" terrified that they're no longer an 800 pound gorilla, they're only a 700 pound one.

    April 2, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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