Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has received the endorsement of another prominent evangelical leader: Bishop E.W. Jackson, one of Virginia's most well-known African-American pastors, has backed the Texas Senator, citing his "authentic faith in Jesus Christ."
According to a report from Conservative HQ Jackson, who is the senior pastor of Fall Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, explained his decision in a statement: "It is absolutely essential and urgent that we elect a Godly President who reveres our Constitution, honors our Judeo-Christian values and respects the freedom of the American people. After eight years of 'fundamental transformation,' we need a leader who will dedicate himself to restoring the fundamentals of America. I urge every American, but especially Christians, to elect Ted Cruz as the next President of the United States."
Bishop Jackson also expressed confidence that if elected, Cruz would work with Christian ministries to help rescue America's inner cities from poverty and crime.
"Senator Cruz knows that 'central planning' by Washington elites will never match the ingenuity and effectiveness of free market capitalism working hand-in-hand with people of faith to restore cultural values and bring prosperity to the most needy people in our country," Jackson continued.
"We need a President committed to ending the cycle of poverty, violence and despair in the inner city, by marshaling the goodwill and resources of the private sector - churches, businesses, nonprofits and private schools....Ted Cruz will be a President who casts that kind of vision and leadership. He has my enthusiastic endorsement."
The pastor explained that Cruz's "support for this type of comprehensive private sector solution" was the "final consideration" in his decision to back the GOP hopeful.
"I want every Christian in America to know, especially in Iowa where they will caucus in little more than a month, that Ted Cruz is a man of God," Jackson emphasized. "Like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, his faith is authentic, not political expedience. Faith in Jesus Christ has been central to his life, long before he ever ran for office. I have no doubt that he will defend our religious liberty, our Second Amendment rights and our right to be free from unlawful government intrusion and control. I urge fellow evangelicals in Iowa to go to the caucuses and vote for Cruz."
Although there are other presidential candidates, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who are competing hard to win over the Evangelical base, Cruz has won the support of an outstanding number of influential Evangelical leaders.
As reported by the Gospel Herald, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk Radio, also announced his support for Cruz, applauding the GOP hopeful's stance on religious liberty and traditional marriage.
"Ted Cruz's record on religious liberty, life, and marriage is second to none in this Republican field," Dobson said in a statement. "I have met with the senator on multiple occasions: he is brilliant, articulate, and informed. Shirley [Dobson's wife] and I have been praying for a leader such as this, and we are confident that Ted Cruz has the moral and spiritual foundations to lead our nation with excellence. Speaking as private individuals, we urge conservatives and people of faith to join us in supporting his race for the presidency."
Earlier this month, Cruz also picked up the endorsement of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization dedicated to preserving traditional marriage.
In a statement, NOM president Brian S. Brown said endorsing Cruz was a difficult decision as so many other "tremendous candidates" remain, but the group chose Cruz, Brown wrote, because he is a "proven champion" of marriage.
"We are endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz because of the urgent need for a marriage champion to emerge from the crowded field and capture the nomination," Brown wrote. "Unless conservatives come together behind a full-spectrum candidate - pro-marriage, pro-life, strong national defense, etc. - there is a real risk that someone like Donald Trump could win the nomination, which would be disastrous. We need a president with a proven track record of matching strong principles with concrete action, someone who will champion the fight for marriage, not walk away from it."
He added that electing a "pro-marriage" president would mean NOM's supporters would have an excellent chance of reversing the Supreme Court's June decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide.
Additional evangelical leaders who have backed Cruz include Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Bob Vander Plaats, head of the conservative group the Family Leader, Ken Cuccinelli of Senate Conservatives Fund, and others.