|Rafael Cruz at Evansville church with Cruz campaign staffer (Courier & Press Photo)|
The elder Cruz's speech touched on the "dangers" of hot button social issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage, political correctness and the "secularization of America" by removing religion from our schools. "How can you call Bible study a political issue?" Cruz said. "The consequence of that silence: teen pregnancy skyrocketed and so did violent crime." "… (The church has) been sleeping for way too long. And I'll tell you what, the sleeping giant is waking up," he said. The Courier & Press said Cruz was accompanied to the event by Christian Collins, who refused to answer questions about hosting a political event at a church. Collins' Linkedin page identifies him as a Cruz campaign staffer and professor at Lone Star College.
Boeke Road Baptist Church Pastor Stephen Russ told the Courier & Press he was not worried about the church's tax-exempt status. "(Cruz's) speech had to do with the involvement of Christians in our politics at any level and it was taken from a historical context," he said. "I would just say that we appreciate (Cruz's) stand for religious freedom and his unique perspective, having been under an oppressive regime," he said. (It) was both enlightening and inspiring."
Advance Indiana has previously told you about the strange background of Cruz. He claims he fled Cuba in 1957 to come to the United States out of fear of political persecution by the Batista regime, although various reporters attempting to corroborate Cruz' account have come up short and he refuses to answer questions about his past. The elder Cruz quickly made his way to the University of Texas in Austin where he earned a mathematics degree and wed his first first wife. He took a job working as a computer programmer for the oil industry in Dallas and New Orleans during the 1960s where he met and married his second wife after divorcing his first wife. The two moved to Calgary, Canada where they both worked for the oil industry and where their son, Ted, was born. They did not return to the United States until 1975.
Cruz's father and mother became estranged after returning to the U.S., although they weren't officially divorced until 1997. At some point, Cruz left the Catholic Church after going through a religious conversion. He claims to be a minister, although it doesn't appear he has been ordained one or has served as pastor for any church. He is a self-described Dominionist who opposes the separation of church and state and believes America is a Christian nation that must be governed according to Biblical principles.