The presidential campaign variation of a space race began early in recent months, as reporters and activists rush to uncover as much as possible on what could be one of Sen. Ted Cruz's biggest liabilities as a candidate in 2016: his dad. Rafael Cruz, a pastor, has previously been active on the trail in support of his son's political ambitions. And he's not been quiet about his thoughts on the current president lately. Those thoughts are, well, we'll put it this way: compared to his dad, Ted Cruz appears downright moderate.
Mother Jones kicked off the latest round of Cruz the Elder watching last week, uncovering a video (since set to private on Youtube) of Rafael speaking at a Tea Party rally in 2012. In the video, Cruz repeats a familiar assertion that the U.S. is a "Christian nation." But he goes further: "The United States of America was formed to honor the word of God," Cruz believes. Speaking of the president, Cruz says that Obama "seeks to destroy all concept of God," and says that the president "should go back to Kenya."
Rafael Cruz a Cuban-born pastor currently based in North Texas at Purifying Fire Ministries. His take on the current president also involves repeated comparisons between Fidel Castro and Barack Obama, as seen in this clip of Cruz from Freedomworks' Free The People rally:
Using his authority as someone who actually experienced communism, Cruz has repeatedly compared things he thinks are wrong to the Cuban dictatorship. The media, for instance, are just like "the ministry of misinformation that you have in all the communist countries." Speaking to Glenn Beck, Cruz added, "the [media's] agenda is an evil agenda. It's an agenda for destroying what this country is all about." That's also true for LGBT rights and the scientific theory of evolution, according to Cruz. Here's the pastor, in June, speaking to a men's prayer breakfast on gay marriage:
"When you hear all these things about homosexual marriage, this has nothing to do with homosexual rights. Did you know that? The whole objective is the destruction of the traditional family, it has nothing to do with homosexuals, they could care less about homosexuals, they want to destroy the family,”
And on evolution:
“I’ve met so many Christians that tell me, ‘Evolution is a scientific fact.’ Baloney! I am a scientist, there is nothing scientific about evolution. But you know something, Karl Marx said it, ‘I can use the teachings of Darwin to promote communism.’ Why? Because communism, or call it socialism if you think communism is too hard a word, necessitates for government to be your god and for government to be your god they need to destroy the concept of God. That’s why communism and evolution go hand and hand. Evolution is one of the strongest tools of Marxism because if they can convince you that you came from a monkey, it’s much easier to convince you that God does not exist.”
None of these statements will shock or harm anyone in Ted Cruz's Tea Party base of support — the right-wing, conservative Christian audiences Rafael addresses respond to his comparisons with applause. These are the same audiences who would also applaud a Cruz run for the White House. But as the partial shutdown of the government demonstrated, the Tea Party doesn't represent the majority of the nation, despite its apparent ambition (or assumption) to the contrary. In that light, it could be good for Cruz's assumed 2016 ambitions to air out his father's beliefs years before the first primary debate. Because despite the fact that Cruz's father appears to be deeper into the right wing than his son, there's no evidence to suggest that the Texas senator doesn't believe every word.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.