Fifty Catholic Right Leaders Endorse Ted Cruz
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Apr 01, 2016 at 06:48:04 AM EST
The National Catholic Reporter recently reported  that a group of fifty conservative Catholics led by Catholic neocon Robert P. George and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president, as the Republican alternative to Donald Trump.

While it may seem laudable that this group is rallying Catholics away from a far-right demagogue, it might be a less laudable choice than meets the eye for some, considering that their alternative may have a religious desire to establish an Evangelical theocracy.

The endorsement by this group follows  the "An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics," published on March 7, 2016, in The National Review by Catholic neocons George Weigel and Robert P. George that derided Donald Trump's fitness for the presidency. Among their concerns were:

Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists' families -- actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.

As strange as the new alliance may seem, Robert P. George shares Cruz's penchant for gold-buggery (the other GOP alternative, John Kasich, has not addressed the issue). And Cruz's more adventuresome foreign policy positions are more in line with the neoconservatism of both Weigel and George (once again, Kasich is more cautious). But beyond that, Cruz is a cultural warrior par excellence; an attribute that appears to resonate with many of the endorsement statement's signatories. Indeed, the endorsement, published on Cruz's website on March 18th 2016, states:

"Ted Cruz has been a tireless fighter for the most vulnerable among us - starting with the unborn," said Jason Jones, a pro-life activist and filmmaker. "Ted Cruz has defended the sanctity of life at the Supreme Court, has worked to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress, and I am confident that as president he will create a culture of life."

"While many candidates have sadly conceded on the issue of marriage, Ted Cruz has courageously denounced the Supreme Court's decision," said Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage. "He has upheld marriage as a sacrament, recognizing that it is foundational to all civilizations. As Catholic institutions are facing increasing threats of fines and punishment for living by the teachings of the Church, we need a leader who has proven he won't back down - that he will always stand for our God-given liberties so that individuals, the Church, and communities are free to practice the faith, hope, and charity that uplifts all members of our society."

But what is troubling is the apparent willingness of these signatories to overlook issues that may very well accompany a Ted Cruz presidency, specifically how his particular brand of Dominionism could influence his domestic, and more importantly, international policies.

John Fea of the journal Religion News Service recently framed the issue of concern this way:

The elder [Rafael] Cruz told the congregation that God would anoint Christian "kings" to preside over an "end-time transfer of wealth" from the wicked to the righteous. After this sermon, Larry Huch, the pastor of New Beginnings, claimed Cruz's recent election to the U.S. Senate was a sign that he was one of these kings.

According to his father and Huch, Ted Cruz is anointed by God to help Christians in their effort to "go to the marketplace and occupy the land ... and take dominion" over it.  This "end-time transfer of wealth" will relieve Christians of all financial woes, allowing true believers to ascend to a position of political and cultural power in which they can build a Christian civilization. When this Christian nation is in place (or back in place), Jesus will return.

Rafael Cruz and Larry Huch preach a brand of evangelical theology called Seven Mountains Dominionism. They believe Christians must take dominion over seven aspects of culture:  family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. The name of the movement comes from Isaiah 2:2: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains."

Senator Cruz has never publicly embraced this Dominionist vision. But then, nor has he ever denied them.

From a Catholic perspective , Cruz's economics are repugnant. His enthusiastic boosterism of buccaneer, laissez faire capitalism is an anathema to Catholic notions of social justice that lean heavily upon distributive justice and the right to a living wage.

Thus it is reasonable to ask: does Ted Cruz believe that he is an anointed king who will oversee the transfer of wealth to those who share his particular evangelical views? If so, how will he do it? And by extension, would those who are not Seven Mountains Dominionists the legally allowed to create wealth for themselves?

Then there is of foreign policy.

Senator Cruz has famously stated that as president he would "carpet bomb ISIS". Such indiscriminate bombing in which many innocent civilians would be killed, also flies in the face of Catholic social teachings. Beyond that, there is the fear he will use ground troops in Syria and Iraq on such a scale that will give the apocalyptic-seeking ISIS caliphate the end times battle they so fervently desire.

These are important considerations. But these fifty Catholic conservatives too-casually gloss them over.




Display:
Ted Cruz is as dangerous as Donald Trump, because he is a dominionist who doesn't respect the separation of church and state, and he is more intelligent than Trump. I have seen some strange candidates come and go, but I've never seen two candidates so manifestly unqualified as Cruz and Trump. As you can see, it is not so much about religion as it is to use religious faith as a pathway to political power. The real object of worship is the almighty dollar.

by khughes1963 on Fri Apr 01, 2016 at 08:40:13 AM EST
that Cruz really is a "true believer" and that he believes that he must "take back America for Jesus" (or whatever).  I think that he believes that his wealth comes from "living Right for God" and not greed (and I'd argue probably dishonesty).

I belonged to those churches decades ago (over 30 years) and met a lot of people who were like Cruz (that sort of ilk).  A few of the older people didn't believe what they said and it was all just a religious scam (one local big-name preacher comes to mind), but for the most part they did - and the next generation even more so.

I've met a lot of "Good Christians" (people who believed that Christianity was to be forced onto the noses of the Other) since then, and they were true believers, even though they were highly intelligent and powerful.  You see, that form of Christianity works on the emotions and not the intellect - and often very highly intelligent people will fall victim to their manipulations.  Religion is far more connected to emotions and not intelligence, although I remember arguments to the contrary.  (Basically they were saying you were supposed to ignore your misery and OBEY! anyway... and if that meant giving your weekly gasoline money to the church, so be it!)

I would quickly agree that dominionism and fundamentalism diminish sapience.  The stereotype (like usual, false) is that it's the stupid and unintelligent backwoods hick that gets caught up in dominionism and that support for the "almighty dollar" is what gets you ahead in that form of religion - and the more hypocritical and sly (and intelligent) you were, the quicker you climbed the latter.  The reality is that if you buy the party line and support it strongly enough, you'll rise in the ranks.  It's when you question authority and dare to not "Just read the Bible and BELIEVE!" that you go downhill and even become an outcast.

Yeah... lots of cognitive dissonance there, but cognitive dissonance goes with fundamentalism.


by ArchaeoBob on Sat Apr 02, 2016 at 01:34:46 PM EST
Parent



Kasich actually IS Catholic, and he holds a strict anti-abortion record. The only thing that George and Co. could object to is Kasich' statements acknowledging that yes, the Supreme Court of the US has spoken concerning same-sex civil marriage, and that the current attempts of legislatures to legalize discrimination by for-profit cake bakers etc are not worth pursuing.

by NancyP on Mon Apr 04, 2016 at 02:39:03 PM EST


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