Ted Cruz: Can the Love of Jesus Christ Be a Campaign Strategy?

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Chelsen Vicari serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Sen. Ted Cruz officially announced his intention to seek a presidential bid on Monday morning at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. The announcement by Cruz was preceded not only by a political platform, but a testimony about the "transformative love of Jesus Christ."

Cruz began his address to nearly 11,000 evangelical students, faculty and staff by sharing the testimony of his mother and father. "Imagine a young married couple living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they're both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life," said Cruz.

At age three Cruz' father, Rafael Cruz, abandoned him and his mother. While his parents were separated, a colleague invited Rafael to a Bible study at Clay Road Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. "There my father gave his life to Jesus Christ," Cruz recounted. "God transformed his heart. And he drove to the airport, bought a plan ticket and he flew back to be with my mother."

Unashamed of his born-again background, Cruz continued, "There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family, there is not a second of doubt. For were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother without a father in the household."

Continuing on, Cruz outlined his platform with a heavy focus on religious liberty as a fundamental value. Cruz also told the crowd that he will seek to support Israel, protect the sanctity of unborn life, repeal Obamacare, uphold Second Amendment rights and cut Common Core.

Cruz's decision to highlight faith and freedom seems an appropriate choice. Religious liberty and will be in the forefront of topics highlighted by the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

"God's blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation," Cruz told the crowd. "And I believe God is not done with America yet."

Chelsen Vicari serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She earned her Masters of Arts in Government from Regent University and frequently contributes to conservative outlets. Follow her on twitter @ChelsenVicari.