WASHINGTON – In a speech stressing the importance of protecting America's religious liberties and other inalienable rights that so-called "radical" Democratic policies are trying to limit, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reflected on his own family's path toward the Christian faith, which included his father abandoning him and his mother when he was three years old before returning to them after finding Jesus.
Before Rev. Rafael Cruz became an evangelical Texas pastor and one of the nation's most notable and quotable congressional parents, he and his wife, with their toddler son, lived in Canada and worked in the oil and energy business. At the time, Cruz said neither of his parents held a relationship with Christ and both had serious drinking problems.
While speaking Friday to the crowd at the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit in Washington D.C., Cruz said that his father one day "decided he didn't want to be married anymore. He didn't want a three-year-old son. So, he got on a plane and left Calgary and went back to Texas in Houston."
"He left us," Cruz said.
Although most people would be bitter as they recount a time in which their own father deserted them, Cruz spoke of his father's abandonment with passion knowing his father's desertion ultimately led him to accepting of Christ.
Cruz said that while his father was in Houston, he was invited by one of his colleagues from the energy field to come to a service at Clay Road Baptist Church. His father accepted the invitation, attended, and later gave his life to Christ. By accepting Jesus, Cruz said his father rethought his decision to leave his family and his faith led him back to Calgary to rejoin with his wife and son.
"When anyone asks is faith real? Is a relationship with Jesus real?" Cruz said. "I can tell you if it were not for my father giving his life to Christ, I would have been raised by my single mother without having my dad in the home."
From this moment in his own family history, the Tea Party Republican claims with first-hand experience that religious liberties still serve a lasting purpose for American families in spite of efforts from "extremely radical" Democrats to limit religious freedoms in America.
"Everyone of us have seen first-hand that in utter darkness, hope remains," Cruz said. "The words of Amazing Grace put it, 'how sweet the sound that saved my soul. I once was blind but now can see'. What an incredible story everyone of us knows and understands in life. We see it at home. We see it in our nation."
Using his father's' experience as an anecdote to show the beauty of religious freedom, Cruz transitioned into a stark criticism of the Obama administration for taking legal actions against Christian groups that don't want to go against their faith to comply with government mandates.
Cruz talked about the Hobby Lobby decision and went on to chastise the federal government's lawsuit against Catholic nuns from the Catholic religious order Little Sisters of the Poor. The lawsuit is trying to enforce a Health and Human Services mandate that require religious groups to pay for birth control and potentially-abortion-inducing drugs that violate their religious belief.
Cruz also recalled that after the conclusion of the Hobby Lobby case, Senate Democrats proposed legislation that would repeal certain religious liberties protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was designed to prevent laws that would burden a person's exercise of religion. The law passed in 1993 under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
"The modern Democratic Party has become an extremely radical party," Cruz said. "There used to be bipartisan agreement, regardless of our difference on the marginal tax rates, we used to come together and say 'we are going to respect the religious liberties of everybody.'"
Cruz urged voters to protect America's religious liberties by voting for a Republican Senate majority during the upcoming midterm congressional elections.
"How do we turn this country around. We don't paint with pale pastels, we paint in watercolors," Cruz said. "We are 39 days away from a pivotal election. If you want to defend the first amendment, our free speech, our religious liberty, vote Harry Reid out. If you want to defend our second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, vote Harry Reid out. If you want to defend the fourth and fifth amendment, our right to privacy; if you want to defend 10th Amendment, then vote Harry Reid out."