Yesterday, Ted Cruz was keynote speaker of the Iowa Rally for Religious Liberty, and while some news outlets are portraying the event as an “evangelical” pitch to the “religious right,” Cruz explains that there is a war on faith in America.

CNN reports:

Cruz spoke about his experience defending freedom of religion at the Supreme Court and what he said were the threats facing religious liberty.

“These threats have been growing, they have been growing for decades but never have the threats been greater to religious liberty than they are right here and now today,” he said.

“These threats are not imagined, they’re not made up. These are real people leading real lives who found themselves facing persecution simply for living out their faith. There is a war on faith in America today.”

Audience members frequently murmured “Amen” as Cruz spoke.

The event featured guest speakers who had faced consequences of upholding their religious beliefs, from losing a job to vandalism to losing a business.

“They didn’t ask for confrontation and the government came to them and said, ‘Choose between faith and obedience to government power,’ and they said, ‘I follow a higher power and that is God almighty,'” Cruz said.

Watch Cruz’s keynote speech at the Rally for Religious Liberty:

Cruz’s stand for religious liberty was also the topic of his discussion at the Iowa State Fair this week with Juno actress Ellen Page.  The Washington Post reports:

Sen. Ted Cruz and actress Ellen Page had an animated back-and-forth about gay rights at the Iowa State Fair on Friday.

Page asked Cruz, who was standing behind a grill full of pork chops, about LGBT people who are “being fired for just strictly being gay or trans.” The question kicked off a nearly five-minute exchange between the actress and the presidential candidate, who did not appear to recognize Page.

“We’re seeing Bible-believing Christians being persecuted for living according to their faith,” Cruz said. The Texas Republican, who is courting the vote of conservatives and evangelical Christians, is holding a rally for religious liberty here Friday night.

“For discriminating against LGBT people,” Page shot back. The encounter was filmed by ABC News.

“No, for living according to their faith,” Cruz, holding a pork chop in one hand, responded.

Watch their full discussion:

While Page seems to think that the bakers refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings will not cater at all to members of the LGBT community, she’s incorrect.  They simply don’t want to be forced to take part in a religious ceremony that counters their own religious beliefs.

The Colorado Christian baker who was ordered to make wedding cakes for gay marriages is still serving anyone who comes in his door, but he has stopped making wedding cakes altogether.  He has also reported that he’s received support from a number of people from the LBGT community.

The Christian Post reports:

“The other day a guy from Daytona Beach called and left a message. He said he’s gay and he wanted to offer his support, and gave me his phone number to call him back,” Phillips said.

“So that’s one, but there’s dozens or hundreds of gays who say they think this is just not right [and is] politically motivated mostly. ‘You have the right to turn us down and these people are making us all look like we’re terrorists. … But we’re not, we just want to live our lives.'”

The baker was found guilty of discrimination after he turned down a request for a wedding cake from a same-sex couple in a 2012 incident.

Because of that, Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop no longer makes wedding cakes of any kind, with the owner noting that he cannot violate his religious beliefs on the issue, which hold that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“The judge said that even though I welcomed them and told them I would sell them any other product, that because I turned down this one, I had violated the [anti-] discrimination law. And that I didn’t sell it to them because they were homosexuals rather than because the event, participating in that, violated my faith,” Phillips explained in his own words.

Cruz makes the distinction between discrimination (refusing to serve anything to any member of the LGBT community) and protecting religious liberty (refusing to take part in a religious ceremony that violates one’s own religious beliefs).  It’s a distinction that needs to be made.  Often.


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