Monday, January 11, 2016

Ted Cruz and the "Body of Christ"

Ted Cruz is not happy when "non-believers" like atheists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and others vote in American elections. He wants the "body of Christ" to awaken and vote for him. He claims to be "pro-Israel" but he is actually in favor of a one-state-solution that ignores the claims of Palestinians and that would ultimately destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

In an interview with James Dobson on January 4, 2015, in Winterset, Iowa, Cruz had this to say:
Cruz: Well, Dr. Dobson, you are absolutely right. In the last presidential election, a majority of evangelicals did not vote. Fifty-four million evangelicals stayed home. In the last election, millions of Reagan Democrats and blue collar Catholics across the Midwest and New England stayed home. 
I believe the key to wining in 2016 is very simple. We have to bring back to the polls the millions of conservatives who stayed home. We have to awaken and energize the body of Christ
We look at our federal government now. We have a federal government that is waging a war on life, a war on marriage, a war on religious liberty. We have a federal government that is advancing a secular agenda, that puts the ability of Bible-believing Christians to live our faith more and more in jeopardy, that is appeasing radical Islamic terrorism, in fact refused to even acknowledge its name. And if you look at the federal government, you might as, why do we have a government attacking life, attacking marriage, attacking faith, attacking religious liberty. 
Well is it any wonder when a majority of believers are staying home? If we allow non–believers to elect our leaders, we shouldn’t be surprised when our government doesn’t reflect our values.
Where does the phrase "body of Christ" come from and what does it mean? From the New Testament. See, for example, these passages from Ephesians and Colossians:
Ephesians 1:22-23: “And he (God the Father) placed all things under his feet (Christ’s) and appointed him the head over all things for the church, which is his Body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” 
Ephesians 4:15-16: “Let us in every way grow up into him who is the Head, Christ, from whom the whole Body, being fitly joined together and united through every joint with which it is supplied, according to the working in measure of each single part, promotes the body’s building up of itself in love.”
Colossians 1:15-20:  "He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the Head of the Body, the church; he is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross."
In these passages, the "Body of Christ" is the church, united under the leadership of Christ. The imagery is of a body with Christ as the head. Ted Cruz uses this explicitly Christian religious language to try to persuade Christians (and not anyone else) to vote for him. Ted Cruz isn't interested in anyone else actually participating in American democracy - for him, only Christians, ideally, should determine who our leaders should be.

Notice that he said, "If we allow non–believers to elect our leaders..." "Allow" non-believers to elect our leaders? Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, atheists, Buddhists, etc. vote by right and not by sufferance, as is enshrined in our Constitution.

He's used this language before. In a conference call to supporters on December 31 he said:
“If we awaken and energize the body of Christ– if Christians and people of faith come out and vote our values– we will win and we will turn the country around,” Cruz told volunteers on a conference call Tuesday.....
Cruz warned that, as the election nears, the attacks on his campaign will become more vicious. “I want to tell everyone to get ready, strap on the full armor of God, get ready for the attacks that are coming,” he warned. “Come the month of January we ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The "full armor of God" is also a biblical phrase, from Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."


Some more about his religious stances, according to the Washington Post (August 6, 2015):
“Believing is not simply sitting aside and doing a polite little golf clap,” Cruz told the congregation at his friend Robert Jeffress’ congregation, First Baptist Dallas. “Believing is putting everything you have, your heart, soul, life, putting everything (into) standing for what’s right.” 
His campaign website and his U.S. Senate biography tout among his accomplishments as solicitor general of Texas that he fought for the “constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol and the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Cruz has said he is judicious about mentioning religious views. In 2013, he told David Brody, a host at the Christian Broadcasting Network, that politicians have “a special obligation to avoid being a Pharisee, to avoid ostentatiously wrapping yourself in your faith. Because I think in politics, it’s too easy for that to become a crutch, for that to be politically useful.” 
Even so, he was back this summer on Brody’s show, where he calculated that if all evangelicals — including more than half who he says sat out the last election — “will simply show up and vote our values, we’ll turn this country around. We can turn our country around, but only if the body of Christ rises up.”
Despite his call for the "body of Christ" to rise up and vote for him, a call which would seem to exclude anyone who isn't a Christian, "Cruz is an ardent Zionist," according to the Post.
[S]peaking to an Arab Christian audience in Washington last September, he ran straight into a wall of disapproval by people who think Israel has taken Palestinian lands illegally and driven out Christians as well as Muslims. Politico said Cruz was booed off the stage for calling for absolute support for Israel, accusing those who disagreed of being “consumed with hate” and concluding, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”
On July 6, 2015, in a debate with Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz said, in reference to the Supreme Court vote authorizing same-sex marriage:
Cruz, the Texas senator, said a five-justice majority "ignored the text of the Constitution" and said the cascade of judicial and public support for same-sex marriage threatens religious liberty in America. He said he hopes the ruling "serves as a spark, to start a fire that becomes a raging inferno as the body of Christ stands up to defend the values that have built America."

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