Four above-the-fold headlines at the Drudge Report on Friday linked to stories and videos that focused on the role of Sen. Ted Cruz’s faith in his campaign for president.
“TED IS THE ANNOINTED ONE,” read the first headline, which linked to a March 10 story in the relatively obscure East Orlando Post titled “Ted Cruz: Closet Pentacostal.”
“HOLY GHOST VIDEO REVEALED,” read the second headline, which linked to a YouTube video first published on October 16, 2013, titled “Cruz Father: Ted Cruz ‘Anointed’ To ‘Bring the Spoils of War to the Priests’. “
“DAD SPEAKING IN TONGUES,” read another headline, which linked to a story published on February 5 of this year and featured a YouTube video.
“SUPPORTERS ‘LAY HANDS’ ON CRUZ AT RALLY,” read the fourth and final headline, which linked to the video of a Nashville Ted Cruz rally published at YouTube on December 22, 2015. The YouTube video was titled “Pastor Gaylon Wiley ‘lays hands’ on Ted Cruz at a campaign event in Nashville.”
Breitbart News reported from that Nashville rally, where Cruz explained that Pastor Wiley, who now lives in Tennessee, had baptized his father, Rafael Cruz, when both lived in Texas in the 1970s:
“Tennessee has a special place in my heart. Tennessee is now the home of the man who led my father to Jesus, Brother Gaylon Wiley. Brother Wiley is here,” Cruz said as he brought Wiley on stage with him.
Wiley asked the crowd to raise hands and lay a blessing on Cruz.
“This one is part political reality, part prayer revival,” Cruz said after the blessing.
Earlier in the week, nationally syndicated talk radio host Glenn Beck, who has endorsed Ted Cruz for president, criticized both the Drudge Report and Breitbart as being “nothing but shills” for Donald Trump. Beck, however, claimed that he and his staff have “proven” they are “not shills” for Cruz, despite frequently appearing at campaign events for the junior Senator from Texas.
The East Orlando Post article began by asking the rhetorical question, “Why is Ted Cruz hiding his pentecostal past?”:
While Ted Cruz proudly proclaims he is an Evangelical Christian, his campaign takes pains to hide the truth that Cruz and his pastor father, Rafael Cruz are Pentecostal Christians, a fact further hidden by having Ted and Heidi Cruz’s belong to the congregation of First Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Houston, as their home church…
Rafael Cruz is a pastor with Purifying Fire International Ministry, although in January 2014, as Ted Cruz was preparing his presidential swing, Rafael Cruz scrapped the group’s website after various blogs began identifying the ministry as rooted in “a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism.”
Dominionism calls on anointed Christian leaders to take over government to make the laws of the nation in accordance with Biblical laws. Rafael Cruz, at the Pastor Larry Huch’s New Beginnings mega-church in Bedford Texas, outside Dallas, on Aug. 26, 2012, in a Dominionist sermon proclaimed his son, Ted Cruz, to be the “anointed one,” a Dominionist Messiah who would bring God’s law to reign.
Billy Hallowell at The Blaze, an online website owned by one of Beck’s companies, took exception to the “DAD SPEAKING IN TONGUES” headline, pointing out, correctly, that the video to which the headline linked did not show Cruz’s father Rafael actually “speaking in tongues” as it is commonly understood:
[S]ome believe that Cruz is seen in the video “speaking in tongues” (also known as glossolalia) — a religious gift that purportedly permits certain Christians to speak and interpret a special language that comes directly from God…
While it is clear that Rafael Cruz is moving his lips and likely quietly praying during Pearson’s invocation, it is not definitively clear that he is speaking in tongues, as some have alleged. It should be noted that it is common practice for evangelical Christians to pray to themselves while others pray aloud, thus such an occurrence wouldn’t be a rarity.
Drudge has previously featured headlines with links to stories that feature Beck’s support of Cruz based on shared religious values. For instance, when Beck announced on his show that he was “fasting” to support Cruz, Drudge’s headlines focused on the religious nature of that political gesture.