Speaking on a Tea Party Unity conference call last week, Rafael Cruz said that pastors in San Antonio can be fined for preaching from the Bible, a patently false claim but part of a larger Religious Right smear campaign against the city’s non-discrimination ordinance [PDF].
The ordinance added sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing city policy prohibiting discrimination, a move opposed by many Republicans, including Rafael Cruz’s son, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The debate over the recently passed ordinance featured several over-the-top reactions, including a rant from a city councilwoman who called homosexuality “disgusting.”
While speaking on the call with extremist pastor and TPU founder Rick Scarborough, who introduced Ted Cruz at the 2012 Values Voter Summit, the elder Cruz claimed that pastors who preach Romans 1 — which some pastors interpret as a condemnation of homosexuality — can be fined $500 a day, a claim with no basis in reality.
“All we have to do is turn on the news and every day we see more and more encroachment upon pastors from this administration,” Cruz said. “All they have to do is be aware of what’s happening around us and to be aware, for example, that in the city of San Antonio, if a pastor speaks on Romans 1, he could be even fined $500 a day until he retracts what he said.”
Scarborough went on to warn that the “lesbian mayor of Houston” will impose a similar “sanctions [on pastors] if they preach the Bible.”
Cruz also suggested in the conference call that “wicked” people are currently in charge of the government: “We’ve stayed at home and we allowed the wicked to elect wicked politicians to rule us. We get what we deserve, Rick. We need to get up the charge that God is giving us and move to the forefront and call this nation to repentance and call this nation to righteousness.”
Cruz has previously alleged that Satan controls the US government.