Ted Cruz Exploits Fear of Terrorism to Promote His Religious Vision for America
U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has never been one to shy away from mixing church and state. Decrying what he calls “the atheist Taliban,” Cruz has called for Christian priests to lead campaigns to elect only Christian candidates, saying that, “far too many Christians have ceded the public arena to people who aren’t believers.” Cruz has urged the use of federal government funds to promote Christian religious beliefs, saying that Christian religious laws overrule the Constition, that “our rights, they don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.”
This week, however, Ted Cruz is reaching deeper into the shadows of theocracy than even he has dared to go before. Cruz promised that, if he is elected President, he will institute a policy to force refugees to prove that they are Christian before they are allowed to enter the United States. Under the Ted Cruz plan, if refugees are Jewish, or Yazidi, or Muslim, or atheists, they will be turned away by the USA, told to go look for compassion elsewhere.
Upon hearing of Cruz’s plan, President Obama commented, “When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful, that’s not American.”
The justification that Ted Cruz gives for religious discrimination by the federal government, in violation of the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, is fear of terrorism. Cruz claims that there are terrorists among Syrian refugees, people who will try to kill as many Americans as they can once they arrive here.
Actually, there is no evidence whatsoever of any plan by Syrian refugees to engage in acts of terrorism here in the United States.
There have been zero Syrian refugees who have participated in terrorist attacks in the United States.
Cruz doesn’t worry about these facts. He knows that large portions of the American population have become accustomed to the belief that there are Muslim terrorists all around them, always on the verge of terrible violent attacks that can only be stopped through massive violations of the Bill of Rights. Cruz knows that many Americans are hungry for extreme authoritarian measures in the name of Homeland Security, and he is happy to exploit this zealous terror for his personal political benefit.
Even though Ted Cruz is far from being elected President of the United States, his agenda of fear is spreading quickly throughout the country. Using the same crude and cruel ideology as Ted Cruz, David Bowers, mayor of the city of Roanoke, Virginia, has instructed officials to stop helping Syrian refugees. He wrote, “I’m reminded that Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious a threat as that from our enemies then.” Bowers thinks that the mass imprisonment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II was a brilliant idea, and is striking the first blow against due process by denying help to people in need. Bowers believes that, somehow, leaving victims of the war in Syria bereft of food and shelter will prevent terrorist attacks.
What politicians like Bowers and Ted Cruz don’t understand is that their own cruelty is used in turn by violent terrorists to justify their brutality. Hate in response to hate never defeats hate. It just builds the mountain of hate higher.
The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution gives us a better standard: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”