Ted Cruz: Evangelical Darling Or ‘Pagan Brutalist’? Why He Exposes A Christian Divide

Cruz’s candidacy has undoubtedly exposed deep fractures in the GOP, not only in the party’s base but between different kinds of “evangelicals.”

Cruz represents the “Jerry Falwell” wing (referencing the late head of the Moral Majority), Trump the “Jimmy Swaggart” wing (referencing the once-popular “health and wealth” televangelist), and Rubio the “Billy Graham” wing. Moore’s comment came in response to Rubio’s announcement of a religious liberty advisory board, which includes Saddleback Community Church pastor Rick Warren and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Samuel Rodriguez.

 

Signs suggest that a plurality of Iowa GOP voters have thrown their support behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But this week, New York Times columnist David Brooks penned a blistering attack on Cruz as a hypocritical Christian who really preaches “pagan brutalism.” To Brooks, Cruz is a harsh, Pharisaical opportunist – Donald Trump with a more pious veneer.

Who’s right? Is Cruz an authentic man of faith or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? It is hard to discern the true state of any politician’s beliefs, especially when he or she is angling for the votes of the faithful. But Cruz’s candidacy has undoubtedly exposed deep fractures in the GOP, not only in the party’s base but between different kinds of “evangelicals.”

With the help of his father, the itinerant evangelist Rafael Cruz, Cruz largely appeals to what we might call the evangelical “old guard” of the GOP. He has won endorsements from figures such as former Focus on the Family head James Dobson.

The most illustrative figure supporting Cruz, however, is Christian history writer and Texas GOP activist David Barton, who is the head of Cruz’s Super PAC. Barton has kept a low profile in the campaign, but he has vast numbers of longstanding contacts among the evangelical base.

Cruz may not want Barton to become a focus of public attention because of the 2012 firestorm over Barton’s book “The Jefferson Lies.” This book came under ferocious criticism, even from conservative Christian scholars, for seeking to portray Jefferson as a traditional Christian for most of his life. In the end, Thomas Nelson Publishers pulled the book from circulation because it had “lost confidence” in its contents. (“The Jefferson Lies” has just appeared in an updated edition from WorldNet Daily Books.)

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