By JIM HARDIN
Rafael Cruz told a Greenville audience of about 200 people Saturday morning that they were proof that the grassroots movement is not dead.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that grassroots is dead,” Cruz said during the Hunt County GOP Club picnic staged at Family Fellowship Church. “Look at all these people here on a Saturday morning. Praise God. It is men and women like you who are going to restore America.”
Cruz — a pastor, Cuban immigrant and father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — was the featured speaker for the event. Tom Pauken, former Texas Republican state chairman and a candidate for governor, also was a speaker at the “picnic” that was originally scheduled to be held at Money Lake, but moved inside because of the threat of rain.
Cruz thanked the crowd for supporting his son. He then told of his thoughts the day the new U.S. senator was administered the oath of office.
“I thought about 55 years before, I came to this country, couldn’t speak a word of English, practically didn’t have any money and to see my son now being sworn in as a U.S. senator, only in America. Only in America.”
Cruz’s speech was interrupted many times with applause and cheers.
Possibly the loudest cheers came when he talked about freedom and that “every generation has to fight to preserve their freedom.”
“If we don’t,” Cruz said, “we may have to explain to our kids or grandkids what it was like to be free. Well, I tell you, I’ve lost my freedom once. I’m not willing to lose it again.”
He talked about hearing from many people who talk about living a life of despair.
He quoted a scripture in Proverbs that states, “For an upright man, after falling seven times, will get up again.”
Americans, he said, are very resilient.
“You know if we stumble, and we will stumble, and you fall flat on your face, you can either stay down there and feel sorry for yourself or you can wipe your bloody nose and get up with twice the determination and move forward.”
He said Americans’ liberties are being taken away “a little bit at a time, a little at a time, a little more. And we become complacent.”
He said many Americans are suffering from the “complacency of political correctness.
“We must stop being politically correct,” he said.
Cruz said there are between 65 million and 80 million evangelical Christians in the United States, but only about half are registered voters. And of those that are registered to vote, only about half voted in the last election.
After quoting those statistics, he described his “biggest burden.”
“The biggest burden that God has placed on my heart is to talk to pastors, to shake up pastors and tell them to stop hiding behind their pulpits,” he said.
When prayer and Bibles were taken out of public schools, Cruz said, churches said, “That’s a political issue.” And Supreme Court action, he said, has resulted in “55 million babies massacred since 1973.” He said the church has continued to say, “‘It’s a political issue.’ They remained quiet.”
He repeated his charge to “go out and shake up” pastors.
“The biggest excuse they give me is, ‘Well, God just called me to preach the gospel,’” he said. “That is the lame excuse and my answer is, ‘What is the gospel, because let me tell you, if you look at the Old Testament, every one of the prophets of the Old Testament, their primary ministry was to challenge the king and call the king to righteousness. It was a very political ministry.”
Cruz told the audience that Jesus charged Christians to bring light to the world. But light doesn’t do any good, he added, unless it’s shining on darkness.
“The problem is, we all go with our little flashlights to church and we shine the light on each other,” he said. “No, no, no, no. You’ve got to get out there and shine the light on darkness. That means we need to challenge everything the administration is doing.”
Cruz said there has been a “very relentless” attack on Christianity.
“The attack on Christianity is not really an attack on religion,” he said. “Let’s look at what is underneath it. One of the basic principles of Communism, fundamental tenet of Communism, government must become your god. And so in order for government to become your god, government has to destroy the concept of God.”