HOUSTON, Texas — In the second part of an exclusive interview with Breitbart News after the public grand opening of his Houston presidential campaign headquarters, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Breitbart News that the modern Democratic Party is “so radicalized and so extreme” that it won’t stand up for the most basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution, including religious liberty as afforded by the First Amendment.
“I’m proud that the state of Indiana stood to defend religious liberties,” Cruz said in the interview, which took place before the state of Indiana backed down to the institutional left’s calls for changes to its Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The vilification and attacks that have been levied against Indiana and Gov. Pence in particular have been abominable. It is a sad statement of just how far we have come. It was not too long ago when there was widespread bipartisan agreement in support of defending religious liberties.
Unfortunately, the modern Democratic Party has become so radicalized and so extreme that religious liberty is now deemed in conflict with the interests of the Democratic Party. Just two decades ago, Congress nearly virtually unanimously passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was signed into law by a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Yet today, when Indiana passes nearly identical legislation, it is the subject of unfair attacks and vilification.
Cruz said the reasoning behind the viciousness and hate from far leftwing liberals against people in Indiana and Gov. Pence in particular is because of the Democratic Party’s commitment to the far leftwing liberal agenda, after previously supporting more moderate positions in recent years.
“The reason, unfortunately, is because the modern Democratic Party has decided a political commitment to mandating gay marriage trumps any fidelity of the First Amendment. As a result, the extreme left of the Democratic Party now wants to use the forces of law against any individuals who have a good faith belief that marriage is a holy sacrament between one man and one woman,” Cruz said.
This is today a war on the Catholic Church. This is today a war on believers of any faith whose religious teachings are not entirely in concert with the rigid dogma of the far left. Just last year, every single Senate Democrat voted in favor of legislation that would have gutted the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
It was a sad day in the United States Senate, and indeed I gave a speech on the floor of the United States Senate standing alongside a picture of John F. Kennedy who said if a man will not stand for religious liberty, I will not stand with you. What I called out is: “Are there no civil libertarians left in the Democratic Party? Are there no defenders of the First Amendment left in the Democratic Party? Is there no one left who will stand up and defend the Catholic Church?”
Cruz noted how the Obama administration—through Obamacare and other mechanisms—has sought to tamp down people’s ability to practice their religion freely.
“The Obama administration has sought to impose what are in effect steep fines on believers carrying out their faith when it contradicts the dictates of Obamacare,” Cruz said.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court struck that down in the Hobby lobby case but the administration persisted in litigating against the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity of nuns caring for the most vulnerable among us.
The Obama administration was trying to impose millions of dollars of fines on the Little Sisters in order to try to force the nuns to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and others. That is a radical and it is an extreme proposition. It was heartbreaking that in the United States Senate there was not a single Democrat willing to stand up to the rigid partisan ideology of the far left and every single Democrat was willing to gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and undermine religious freedom instead.
Cruz said that while the current situation is “dangerous” in America, the “silver lining” is so many Americans are waking up to what’s going on in the world and are going to act to help elect a new president who will reverse the course the nation is on under Obama.
“These are dangerous times, but I will point to one silver lining which is that as threats to religious liberty grow graver and graver—in my hometown of Houston just a few months ago, we saw the city attempt to subpoena the sermons of five pastors again driven by the radical partisan ideology that’s taken over the Democratic Party,” Cruz said.
They were told to hand over every sermon that they had ever given on homosexuality and every note they had ever made in preparing those sermons. It was a grotesque violation of religious liberty. In the end, the light that was focused on the city of Houston was so great that the city thankfully buckled under and withdrew the subpoenas.
As these assaults to religious liberty keep growing, millions of Americans are waking up and seeing just how far we’ve gotten from the basic constitutional protections in our bill of rights. I believe that that awakening is helping fuel millions of courageous conservatives who want to get back to the constitutional liberties that helped build America into the greatest country in the history of earth.