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Pastor Rafael Cruz speaks to the public at the Cornerstone Church, April. 29, 2016. He also references the bible and politics during his presentation. Khone Saysamongdy / The Collegian

Ted Cruz’s father urges Fresno Christians to engage or watch religious liberty ‘go down the drain’

Pastor Rafael Cruz, the father of presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz, stood at Cornerstone Church Conference Center’s pulpit in Fresno on Friday night and urged members of the congregation to engage in the political process.

“Authority flows from God to the people to the government,” he said, “And with that authority comes an awesome responsibility for us to elect righteous leaders.”   

Roughly 300 people gathered at the conference center to listen to Cruz discuss history, national politics and why they should vote for his son in the upcoming June primary.

Cruz asked members to put down their qualms about being politically correct, and start voting “biblically correct,” citing the lack of evangelical voters in the 2012 presidential election.

He said there were 12 million evangelical Christians who were not registered to vote and another 26 million evangelicals who did not vote.

“We need to make sure that people of faith are involved in the political process,” he said.

As audience members entered the conference room, they were asked in they would like to endorse Ted Cruz and were then given campaign stickers.

Cornerstone pastor Jim Franklin publicly endorsed Ted Cruz and encouraged church members to get involved with the political process and to “come out of the closet” and select leaders to represent the congregation’s values.  

Cruz said the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could be a turning point for representation of conservative values in America.

“One more liberal justice on that court and our religious liberties will all go down the drain,” Cruz said.

If something is not mentioned in either the ninth or 10th amendment, he said, then the federal government has “no business” making judgements on it. He cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that made gay marriage legal as “unconstitutional and unlawful.”

Also unconstitutional, according to Cruz, is the implementation of Common Core education.

“The word ‘education’ is nowhere in article one, section eight [of the Constitution].”

Cruz said that Common Core, the national educational standards for K-12 students, was “insidious” and was being “crammed down our throats” to “brainwash” children.

Cruz also denounced GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, saying the campaign had done a successful job of preying on people’s anger.

“Trump hit a nerve by appealing to people’s anger,” he said. “People are frustrated – and rightly so because America has been on a downward spiral for a long time – Trump has been fueling that frustration and anger. The problem is that Trump has no solutions. He is just hot air.”   

Dr. Thomas Holyoke, professor of political science at Fresno State, said that a win for Trump could boil down to the California republican primary.

“Trump needs to win big in every state yet to come, including California because he is still needs 310 delegates to get to 1,237, and that means winning every state yet to come,” said Holyoke.

Jeremiah Folia, a Fresno State student and the Central Valley Chair of Millennials, commented on Cruz’s chances of winning the nomination.

“In California, different polls have ranked Cruz from 7 percent to 17 percent behind Trump,” Folia said. “Polls from many of the remaining states show good favorability for Sen. Cruz, and if the rest of the states vote as projected, we will only need to keep Donald Trump with under 50 percent of the delegates from California to prompt a contested convention.”

Cruz encouraged the congregation to vote for the righteous candidate – his son Ted – mentioning that he had been preparing for this role since he was 9 years old by being engaged with the church and memorizing the Constitution.

Franklin echoed Cruz’s call to action by asking young voters to do their research on the candidates.

“Don’t listen to the rhetoric. Don’t listen to the sound bites. Do your homework,” Franklin said. “Everything you read on the Internet isn’t right. Get a book out – look at our past, look at our history, and then use that as a guidepost to our future.”

Folia praised the grassroots movement in California, saying that Millennials for Cruz has developed a presence in each congressional district.

“I think we will take this election to a contested convention, and when we get there we will win,” said Folia.

Cruz ended his talk by encouraging audience members to, “Vote righteousness. Vote conviction. Don’t vote tradition. Vote the principles of the word of God.”

For more information on the Millennials for Cruz organization, email Folia at foliapatriot@mail.fresnostate.edu.