Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has warned that there is "liberal fascism" against Christians within the Democratic Party, citing instances where business owners were punished for refusing to cater same-sex weddings.
Speaking at the Faith and Freedom summit in Iowa along with several other GOP 2016 hopefuls, the Texas senator said, "There is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after believing Christians who follow the biblical teaching on marriage."
Emphasizing that Democrats have become "intolerant" of Christians views, Cruz said that "there is no room for Christians in today's Democratic Party."
The continued violation of religious freedom rights of business owners goes against America's founding principles, Cruz argued.
"We were founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution," he said, CNN reported, "We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in defense of the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was built," he added.
Over the past several months, there have been an increasing number of cases regarding bakeries and other Christian-owned businesses who have refused to cater to customers seeking services for gay weddings.
Most recently, Sweet Cakes Bakery in Oregon was slapped with a $135,000 fine from state regulators after it was determined that its owners refused to bake a cake intended for a same-sex marriage
Another business, Indiana bakery 111 Cakery, decided to close its doors in March after receiving significant backlash for refusing to cater a gay wedding.
"Religious freedom is a fundamental part of America, and is written into our state's constitution already," Basic Rights Oregon co-director Nancy Haque said at the time. "But those beliefs don't entitle any of us to discriminate against others. Religious liberty should not be used to discriminate against people."
Cruz, who announced he would run for president in 2016 during a speech at Liberty University earlier in March, often expresses his opposition to gay marriage and insists he will "never change" his "fundamental values."
Last week, he urged pastors to be more vocal in preaching against homosexual marriage, explaining that traditional marriage "was God's idea, and He will preserve it, with or without us."
"We know that marriage is intended to be sacred, beautiful, and nourishing. If you do not influence your congregation's understanding of marriage, who will fill the void? Hollywood? Divorce courts?" he asked in a letter sent to tens of thousands of pastors.
He added, "Prayer moves our God to intervene in history. Prayer softens our hearts and brings us into alignment with the heart of God. The church has not shared the truth about marriage well: it is time to repent and commit ourselves to courage on this front."
Other speakers at the Faith and Freedom Summit included Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio.