Ted Cruz: Religious liberty 'never been more in peril'
April 2nd, 2014
02:51 PM ET
5 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. Sniffit

    "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."

    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? Hypocrisy Lobby is more like it. These people didn't bring that lawsuit because of "deeply held religious beliefs." They brought it for self-serving political reasons. Period. Their retirement plan investment behavior....which the MSM is deliberately avoiding reporting about....disproves all of their claims that they are "conscientiously objecting" based on "deeply held religious beliefs."

    April 2, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Moderate Sean

    Ironically, God help us, when it comes to this man.....he is seriously scary, not too mention the things he says, stands for, and ultimately believes.

    April 2, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Bubba

    Cruz is a MORON, and those who get excited by his babbling are MORONS. Cruz speaks of Liberty, while attacking Liberty, speaks of Family, while kneecapping families ability to endure. The GOP HYPOCRISY has reached its peak with Cruz, and if Texas were not so full of MORONS, they would be ashamed.

    April 2, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    My religious liberty is being infringed on by teavangelicals. Please continue Rafael.

    April 2, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    Religious freedom, in jeopard?

    Hardly, given how the GOP baggers worship, at the alter of stupidity, to this moron.

    April 2, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Sniffit

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

    Which, when phrased in that manner, begs the question and illustrates just how freekin ridiculous their position is.

    Roberts has already signaled where he wants this to go. He wants to give them their victory and open the floodgates while pretending to rule in a limited manner: by hanging the decision to exempt them from the mandate on the idea that they are a "closely held" corporation, rather than publicly traded. Never mind that calling such a decision "limited"
    is nothing but a thinly veiled load of crap because even under that definition, it would effect millions and millions and millions of employees.

    Can't wait to see Scalia's massively hypocritical, intellectually dishonest disregard for his decision in the Employment Division case (i.e., more information and legal precedent the MSM doesn't want to talk about lest it ruin the controversy by showing how dishonest and political the conservatives on the Court truly are). He'll no doubt provide a wonderfully entertaining, borderline psychotic rationalization for abandoning precedent that he himself wrote.

    April 2, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    That is one big lie. What he really means is freedom for a particular sect of a particular religion to do what they want. Why do these Radical Right Christians need to hide their agenda? It is not religious freedom they want. They want a Theocracy.

    I think you would hear the phony religious freedom folks squeal for miles around if their Muslim employer told them they could only vacation time during the Muslim holiday schedule. Or their liberal church deacon CEO refused to pay for hunting accidents on their insurance because they are against guns. Would they still want religious freedom?

    April 2, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    How much do we tax payers pay this eternal April Fools joke?

    April 2, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    Religious freedom at risk?

    Can the class name an example?

    How about when "chri$tians" whine about building a mosque too close to "sacred ground"?

    April 2, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

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

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Then stop infringing on the rights of those who don't kowtow to YOUR religious sect's dogma, rafael!!

    April 2, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Ted must be upset that he was not chosen by Sheldon Adelson to represent billionaires in 2016 presidential election.

    April 2, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    There are problems with religious liberty also.

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

    It appears a world wide religious war may be inevitable.

    April 2, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    This is like Orwell's 1984. The ministry of Truth did propaganda. The Ministry of Peace conducted war.
    Now we have Cruz calling for a special treatment for his religion over others in the name of "freedom".
    Cruz should try setting up a christian church in Iran or North Korea then (if he comes back) lecture us all about loss of religious freedom.

    April 2, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Lolo

    Please go away. Better yet you and your father and family should go back to Cuba and see if they will follow your BS about religious Liberty. Quit trying to tell people how to worship or what to believe. This is exactly why I do not like the GOP?TP Klan. They think that they are the only Christians. Karma is going to bite them in the you know what real soon. If you don't want an aabortion don't have one, If you don't like gays don't belittle them, because they are definitely rising, especially in the GOP/TP Party. Stay away from women's private parts, and if you don't like poor or black people, please move to an island for you moronns only. If it is war you want all the time, how about sending your spoiled kids to do your bidding and quit using the poor and minorities to fight your battles. Your party is nothing but a club of takers and users. Research your history and you will understand what I am talking about.

    April 2, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. sonny chapman

    Oh those poor VICTIMS.It's soooo hard to be a "Christian" in America. The persecution is beyond description. Much worse than the Early Christians in Rome. It IS hard to be a Follower of the Teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Four Gospels in America; but it ain't because of a tyrannical secular Govt. It IS hard because some 'Christians" have too much wealth.

    April 2, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. TONE

    Why do republicans always talk about religious liberty, when they are not religious or on less they are referring to the religious wing of satan.

    April 2, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. maggiwood

    I guess xtians only care when paying out money for abortions or birth control. LOVE abortions and birth control when they make money off of it! Hypocrites!

    April 2, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Rick McDaniel

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

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No they're not. Please stop making $#!+ up – it just makes you look foolish.

    April 2, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. anonymous

    Sniffit
    "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."
    ---
    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? Hypocrisy Lobby is more like it. These people didn't bring that lawsuit because of "deeply held religious beliefs." They brought it for self-serving political reasons. Period. Their retirement plan investment behavior....which the MSM is deliberately avoiding reporting about....disproves all of their claims that they are "conscientiously objecting" based on "deeply held religious beliefs."
    --

    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.

    April 2, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. kurt

    Here's the key thing you have to remember about religous liberty.

    You have the right to believe what you want and live YOUR life based on those beliefs. But you cannot force your employees to do so. You do NOT have the right to use your religious beliefs as an excuse to disobey laws governing what you must provide your employess.

    As the employee, you can decide not to use contraception if that's against your religion. But thats a PERSONAL freedom, not something that determines what you may or may not provide others as part of the legal requirement of owning a business. That's you using your religion to infringe on the legal rights of your employees to recieve that coverage.

    There is a religious freedom issue here... the freedom to not have your employers religious beliefs override your own.

    And as a pre-emptive statement... if anyone uses the line: "If you want contraception then quit your job and work for someone who provides it."... my response is "If you don't want your medical plan to provide contraception coverage, go move to another country where they don't require you to provide it."

    April 2, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Religious liberty is in peril. It would seem that the argument is being made before the SCOTUS that money should allow you to ignore the liberties of others in favor of whatever you feel their liberties should be. The founding fathers would be appallled.

    April 2, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Oh, BS! Cruz is just playing to his ignorant base who believe that if everyone isn't a Christian just like them, then religion is dead.

    Here are some fast facts: There are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States (about 314,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 24,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000).

    April 2, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. TONE

    Rightwingers are hypocrits Jesus call them that. on one hand deny poor people food, and the other hand call out lord lord lord.

    April 2, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @anonymous:

    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.

    Citing facts that point up the hypocrisy of organizations like Hobby Lobby (which also buys products from China, which still experiences a high rate of female infanticide, despite the official repeal of the one-child policy), is not blather, incoherent or otherwise.

    The diversion is being propagated by Cruz, who is hoping all the morons in his base will forget that he's ineligible to be POTUS, given that he was born in Canada of an American mother and Cuban father (who only became a citizen in 2005). Cruz is hoping those same morons will keep opening their wallets to him – PERIOD.

    April 2, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. TCP/IP

    Cosmos took a couple of swipes at the creationist (Cruz) and read somewhere they did not like it !

    April 2, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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