WASHINGTON — In the light of the unnerving attacks on religious liberty at home and abroad, Sen. Ted Cruz sent a clear message to President Barack Obama: Be a leader.
Cruz, a Republican from Texas and possible GOP candidate for president in 2016, delivered an unrelenting speech on the attack of religious liberty for the Road to Majority Conference Thursday afternoon.
“There is a reason why the very first provision of bill of rights — the very first phrase in the First Amendment — protects the religious liberty of every American,” Cruz said. “Because we were formed by people from all across the world fleeing religious oppression and coming to the land where every one of us could seek out the Lord God Almighty with all of our heart, mind and soul.”
According to Cruz, the threats to religious liberty, “are even greater” than ever before.
He called out the Obama administration for going head to head with Hobby Lobby, the Christian company that refused to cover abortion inducing drugs on their employees’ health-care plans. He also brought up the administration’s legal case against the Little Sisters of the Poor.
“Let me give you a simple rule of thumb,” Cruz said. “If you’re litigating against nuns, you have probably done something wrong.”
Religious liberty is also under attack, perhaps more severely and directly, abroad. But Cruz says these foreign crises only magnify President Obama’s seeming ambivalence for preserving and defending religious liberty.
“As ISIS, a group of radical Islamic terrorists so extreme they were thrown out of al-Qaida, is systematically taking over more and more of that nation. Their stated objective is to create an Islamic caliphate that runs from Syria to Iraq and then to work to exterminate Jordan, Israel and ultimately America.”
“In the 1990s, there were roughly 1.2 million Christians living in Iraq,” Cruz continued. “Today there are fewer than 300,000. Christians are being persecuted in stunning numbers. They are being stoned. They are being tortured. They are being beheaded. They are being crucified.”
Cruz used Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American Christian pastor in a prison in Iran, as an example. If Obama is willing to negotiate with Iran on other issues, Cruz posed, why has he yet to fight to get this man out of prison?
“As Pastor Saeed languishes in an Iranian prison, while the American government negotiates with the government of Iran — a negotiation that I think is only increasing the likelihood of Iran developing nuclear weapon capability that will gravely threaten the national security of both Israel and the United States — our president and our government have not been able to secure the release of an American citizen languishing in an Iranian prison simply for his Christian faith,” Cruz said.
Cruz also made a call for the president to stand up and demand the release of Meriam Ibrahim, the wife of an American citizen who was sentenced to 100 lashes and hanging for refusing to deny Christ.
“And then you look to another example. The example of Meriam Ibrahim,” Cruz said. “Meriam Ibrahim is someone every elected official, every American should be speaking out. Meriam Ibrahim is a young woman. She’s a wife. She’s a mother, and she is in prison in Sudan for the crime of being a Christian.”
“Every one of us needs to be lifting Meriam Ibrahim in prayer, but every bit as important, we need leadership,” Cruz continued. “The president of the United States should stand up and speak on Meriam Ibrahim.”