Prayer is only half the equation, proclaimed pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, to an estimated 2,500 attendees at the Rally for Religious Liberty on Saturday at Bob Jones University in Greensville, S.C. Using a reference to "ambassadors for Christ" from 2 Corinthians, the elder Cruz stated in an article in The Guardian: "That means we're God's representatives here on Earth, we're God's hands, we're God's feet, we're God's mouthpiece."
Rafael Cruz, 76, was quoted in the same article as encouraging attendees to view the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage as a chance to inspire "passive evangelicals" into political action: "I think the decision of 26 June (2015) has acted as a catalyst to wake up the sleeping giant. Yes, there are more of us than there are of them; the problem is that the 'us' have been asleep at the wheel."
The overall purpose of Saturday's rally, according to the Cruz for President campaign materials, was to call attention to "recent acts of government-sanctioned religious persecution against Americans of faith," and, in particular, recent attacks against evangelical Christians.
"Increasingly, renegade government officials seek to coerce people of faith either to act in a manner that violates their faith or forfeit their career. The right to religious liberty built America. Denying that right is un-American, and it is morally wrong," Ted Cruz stated in a press release about the rally.
Rafael Cruz is associated as a director with the Purifying Fire Religion Franchise in Carrollton, Texas. According to a bio published by The Family Leadership Summit 2015, Cruz is an ordained minister and also president of Kingdom Translation Services, Inc.
Also participating in the South Carolina rally were Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president, as well as Jason and David Benham, twins and former major league baseball players who attracted media coverage regarding their opposition to same-sex marriage and who in the Christian Post, said, "Satan is behind the attacks against traditional marriage."
According to Cruz for President sources, a handful of other speakers were chosen for the rally for the following reasons:
· "Coach Joe Kennedy, an assistant football coach in Bremerton, Wash., was recently placed on leave by his school district for praying silently on the field. Kennedy reportedly has been in the habit of praying at games since 2008. He is currently barred from participating in any activities related to the high school football program."
· "Pastor David Welch of Texas was among the five pastors whose sermons and personal communications pertaining to homosexuality and transgender issues were subpoenaed by the mayor of Houston. The pastor was ordered to turn over all communications with members of his congregation regarding a controversial law supported by the mayor's office. The pastor refused to comply, and after local and national public outcry, Mayor Annise Parker ultimately rescinded the order."
· "College student Angela Hildenbrand was valedictorian of her Texas high school in 2011 and was threatened with jail if she exercised her right to pray during her graduation speech. The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a district judge's restraining order and Hildenbrand was allowed to exercise her constitutional rights."
· "Dick and Betty Odgaard of Grimes, Ia., declined to host a same-sex wedding ceremony in a historic chapel they owned, and a complaint was filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The Odgaards were forced to settle, paid thousands of dollars in fines, and as a result have closed their wedding business."
The Cruz campaign hosted a similar Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines, Ia., in August.