U.S. Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke about faith and freedom at Houston Baptist University (HBU). He was joined by HBU President Robert Sloan and journalist Marvin Olasky–all three shared how faith has impacted their own careers and discussed religious freedom in modern America. Hundreds of people gathered in the Dunham Theater to listen to the discussion live.
Although the three panelists occasionally disagreed with each other on minor issues, the overarching theme of the event represented a consistent thread between all of them: they are each committed to their values and principles despite opposition from the left and secular institutions.
Taking a bold stance, Sloan kicked off the event by saying, “Religious freedom, there is no question, is being threatened today.”
The college president elaborated arguing that it is utterly ridiculous that we now live in a society where “we have to sue our own government” to enjoy religious freedom.
Cruz spoke is broader terms, but then narrowed his points as he discussed the secularism of education in America.
He talked about his own experience at Harvard Law School, saying, “There were fewer professors on the Harvard faculty who were openly Republican than there were who were self-proclaimed Marxists. There were a whole bunch of them, who, if you asked them would say they were Marxists.”
He continued, “Teaching basic free market principles this country was built on [is crucial]. But related to that are the Constitutional liberties, the extraordinary Constitutional liberties, that are foundational to this county and [that] are found in the Bill of Rights. First and foremost is religious liberty and how that foundation, protecting our individual liberty, has created the most incredible nation in the history of the world.”
As the discussion became more policy-focused, the issue of same-sex marriage arose. At one point, Cruz was asked: if you were a cake baker, and a same-sex couple asked you to bake a cake for their wedding, what would you do?
“I’m perfectly willing to interact with anyone,” Cruz said. “But I don’t think the law should be forcing Americans to violate their religious faith.”
The panelists subsequently took several questions from audience members. Not surprisingly, the first question for Cruz was if he plans to run for president in 2016.
“As much as possible, I’m trying not to focus on Washington,” the senator responded. “I’m trying to focus on the job I was elected to do, which is to represent 26 million Texas. We have enormous challenges here. We’re facing fiscal challenges, and we’re facing an administration that is consistently infringing on the rights of the American people…I’ve never spoken to any senator without anything but respect, but that doesn’t mean I am going to refrain from doing my job.”
He concluded, “The very first thing the next president should do, within an hour of being sworn in, is repeal every single illegal executive order instated by [Obama].”
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