As I've written previously, Ted Cruz has cemented his status as the most rabidly anti-gay contender for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination, claiming the hallowed ground once occupied by the likes of Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum. From condemning a non-discrimination ordinance in his hometown of Houston to crusading against marriage equality, Cruz has brought the full weight of his trademark demagoguery to bear in his valiant effort to ensure that gay people remain second-class citizens in this country. Naturally, then, he applauded the passage of an Indiana law that provides a legal shield to businesses and individuals who refuse services to gays.
Given that this is Ted Cruz we're discussing, the Texas senator also vociferously fulminated against opponents of the measure, depicting them, like all who oppose Cruz's political agenda, as loathers of liberty and threats to the republic.
Speaking in Iowa -- site of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, which are dominated by conservatives on the GOP side -- Cruz slammed critics of the Indiana law on Wednesday, particularly the business interests that opposed it on economic grounds.
"Religious liberty is not some fringe view," Cruz told an audience in Bankston. "Sadly, a whole lot of Republicans are terrified of this issue."
Cruz continued: "The Fortune 500 is running shamelessly to endorse the radical gay marriage agenda over religious liberty to say: 'We will persecute a Christian pastor, a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi.' Any person of faith is subject to persecution if they dare disagree, if their religious faith parts way from their political commitment to gay marriage."
A Harvard-educated lawyer, Cruz is undoubtedly aware that it would be blatantly unconstitutional to force clerics to perform same-sex nuptials or otherwise recognize gay rights. Advocates of civil marriage equality have not agitated to require churches or other religious bodies to perform same-sex weddings, despite Cruz's warning of "persecution" by all those uppity gays. Considering Cruz's background, we'll have to consider his comments pure rabble-rousing, rather than simple ignorance.
Cruz's warning that clerics will be "subject to persecution" is even more of a red herring when it comes to evaluating criticism of the Indiana law, which in its current form effectively allows for-profit businesses operating in the public marketplace to discriminate against LGBT people. That's the crux of the outrage.
Hats off to the senator, though. It's high time a prominent public official spoke out for heterosexual religious conservatives, easily the most oppressed group in American history.