Ted Cruz has come under fire from Mike Huckabee and a super PAC linked to Huckabee’s campaign for his failure to tithe sufficiently, an awkward political attack at a time when Cruz is boasting of his own personal religiosity in an effort to coalesce evangelical support behind his candidacy.
Cruz has tried to portray himself as the official candidate of Christians whom God is using to save America, urging his followers to “strap on the full armor of God” and “awaken and energize the body of Christ” to elect him president.
He explained to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network that he didn’t tithe because he was “newly married” and “just started a family.” However, as Mediaite pointed out, Cruz has been financially well-off for years.
One of the people who believes Cruz is on a God-appointed mission to become president is his father, Rafael Cruz, a top campaign surrogate and fiery preacher of bunk Christian nationalist history and anti-gay rhetoric who speaks about his son in almost messianic terms. Interestingly enough, as BuzzFeed pointed out, he has also “preached fervently to evangelical crowds about the blessings God will rain down on those who tithe mightily.”
Indeed, the elder Cruz has told crowds that God will withhold blessings from those who don’t tithe because they are stealing from Him. In a 2012 sermon dug up by Warren Throckmorton today, Rafael Cruz said that Satan would come after all those who fail to tithe and that financial struggle is no excuse not to do so.
The first thing I ask someone that comes to me and asks me, ‘Oh, I need you to pray for my finances because I don’t have enough, I can’t pay my rent,’ first thing I ask is, ‘Are you tithing?’ If you’re not, why should God bless you? You read Malachi 3:7, he says if you’re not tithing, you’re stealing from God. Why should God bless you?
So when you don’t have any money, that’s when it is the most important that the first thing you do is an offering unto the Lord because that offering sanctifies the rest and opens up the windows of heaven. As a matter of fact, Malachi 3:11 says that when you do that, he rebukes the Devourer. But you know, the opposite is also true. If you do not do it, the Devourer is going to eat everything you’ve got. And you know, ‘If God is for you then who can be against you?’
While whether or not a candidate tithes normally wouldn’t be a matter of discussion on the campaign trail, Cruz has forced the issue by trying to tell voters that they should vote for him if they want to be on the right side of God.
“By fashioning himself as the candidate of ‘the body of Christ,’ Cruz is trying to make it seem that he is the candidate of Christians writ large, when there are millions of American Christians who don’t agree with Cruz’s take on biblical values or politics,” our colleague Peter Montgomery has written. “This kind of rhetoric also sends a clear message to non-Christians that Cruz sees them as some kind of lesser Americans who have no real role in building our shared future.”