HOUSTON, Texas — Speaking at the Values Voters Summit, put on by the Family Research Council, Texas Senator Ted Cruz gave a passionate speech about religious liberty and faith. Invoking personal stories from his own life, the senator highlighted the power of hope in the darkest of times.
“Our values are fundamentally American,” Cruz told the audience. “This country remains a country built on…Christian values. And anyone who tells you differently is lying to you.”
Cruz spoke about his own father, whose life was drastically changed by the power of faith.
Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was taken captive in Cuba as a teenager. He was wearing a white suit at the time. The Senator said, “My father had been put in a Cuban prison and tortured. Tortured, hour after hour. My grandmother told me, when she saw my father again, [on] that white suit you could not see a spot of white anywhere on it. It was covered with mud and blood, and his teeth were dangling from his mouth. And yet even when he was in that Cuban jail, God with with him…God’s hand brought him from captivity to freedom. God’s grace brought him to the United States of America.”
Later in life, when Cruz was a young boy living in the U.S., both of his parents had “serious problems with alcohol. When I was three my father decided he that didn’t want to be married anymore and that he didn’t want a son.”
Consequently, Cruz’s father left him and his mother in Calgary and moved to Houston. “While in Houston, [my father] got invited to Clay Road baptist church,” Cruz said. While there, his father “gave his life to Jesus.” He then bought an airplane ticket and flew back to Calgary to rejoin his son and wife.
Cruz reflected, “So when anyone asks, ‘Is faith real, is a relationship with Jesus real? I tell them if it were not for my father finding Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother.”
Shifting gears and speaking on broader terms, the Texas senator then asserted that Americans must have hope for the future of their country. He said, “God is present in the darkest corners…We need a president who will speak up for people of faith.”
Cruz called the modern Democratic party “extreme, radical[s]” for targeting groups of faith. He spoke about Little Sisters of the Poor–the Obama Administration is attempting to force the group to fund abortion. “If you’re suing nuns, you’ve done something really wrong,” Cruz quipped.
Contrasting the Democrats, Cruz told the audience that their ideals, built on faith and hope, can offer a better road to freedom in the United States. He said, “We stand for life, we stand for marriage, we stand for Israel, we bring back jobs and opportunity and…make it easier for people to achieve the American dream, we abolish the IRS, we repeal common core.”
The essence of Cruz’s intimate speech could be summed up in one line, which came towards the end of his remarks. He declared, “I’m optimistic becauase I am convinced that God isn’t done with America yet.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.