A list of endorsements from faith leaders published by Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign last week includes not only anti-gay pastor Ron Baity but also Philip “Flip” Benham of Operation Save America, a radical activist who campaigns against abortion rights and LGBT equality.
“We’re fighting the Devil and his lies in the world and the flesh, and moving it to a thing called the homosexual agenda — and it’s the Devil’s agenda,” Benham said last year, likening abortion and Islam to “the Devil’s fist” and the “homosexual agenda” to Satan’s “pink-colored glove.”
Benham founded Operation Save America out of what was left of the original iteration of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, expanding its focus to include opposition to gay rights, Islam, and other issues. (The leader of the new Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, has also endorsed Cruz.)
Benham’s recent activism at Operation Save America has included organizing a campaign to harass the judge overseeing the Kim Davis case, blaming the Sandy Hook massacre on the separation of church and state, blaming the Democratic Party for the Aurora mass shooting, declaring war on Islam and heckling congregants at a Unitarian Universalist congregation, which Operation Save America called “a synagogue of Satan,” during a moment of silence for deceased parishioners.
Benham has also crashed gay couples’ weddings to protest their nuptials.
In 2011, Benham was found guilty of stalking an abortion provider “after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.” Earlier this year, he charged that the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray amounted to God’s punishment for legal abortion .
Cruz has already surrounded himself with hate group officials, fanatical anti-abortion activists and radical pastors. Benham will fit right in.