|Pastor Rafael Cruz|
speaking at the Cherry Tree Republicans forum
This past Saturday I got to attend a series of speakers on the Constitution and conservative ideas (thanks to the Cherry Tree Republicans). The keynote speaker was Pastor Rafael Cruz, the father of Senator Ted Cruz. I’ve heard him a number of times before, and it’s always an exciting ride.
This was the day after his 80th birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday to him. His energy is almost overwhelming. He’s nowhere near an age at which he might consider slowing down.
He’s not a pastor with a brick-and-mortar church. He travels and speaks. His purpose is to wake up the churches. As he told us,
I talk to pastors all the time, trying to shake them out from staying behind their pulpits, scared to death of not being politically correct. And I tell them, “You need to be biblically correct, not politically correct.” And they give me all kinds of excuses. One of the most common I hear: “Politics is a dirty business. I don’t want any part of it.” I’m sure everybody in this room has heard that, perhaps some of you have even said it. “Politics is a dirty business. I don’t want any part of it.”
You know Proverbs 29:2. It says, When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. When the wicked rule, people mourn. If the righteous, the people of principle, the people who stand on the Judeo-Christian principles that made America the greatest country on the face of the earth—if those people are not running for office, if those people are not even voting, what’s left? The wicked electing the wicked. And it becomes our fault.
He just returned from a trip to Romania, a mainly atheist country, as the Soviet states were. They need a religious reawakening, so he was talking to pastors there:
Romania only has 17 million people. Yet they have one year with a million abortions. Now, we have a million abortions a year in America, but we have 330 million people. So they have 20 times more abortions than America. So my main reason to go to Romania was to wake up the church.
In the process of waking up Christians, he talked about the US Constitution, and how exceptional it is. He pointed out,
The average age, the average lifespan of a constitution around the world—you know how much it is? Seventeen years. Our Constitution has lasted over 230 years.
I agree with him; America, with our Constitution, and our foundation on an idea, rather than an ethnicity, is truly exceptional. He wasn’t the only speaker on the Constitution for the day. I arrived halfway through. I missed a Constitution expert, and my Congressman Dan Crenshaw (sorry to have missed him). But former Speaker of the House Tom Delay spoke on what’s in the Constitution as well.
Let’s start with a bit of history from Pastor Cruz:
The Declaration of Independence did not originate with Thomas Jefferson. I count nineteen grievances against King George in the Declaration of Independence. Did you know that each and every one of those grievances were preached in the churches of America for ten years—ten years, the preachers, from the pulpit, calling out King George for the atrocities that the British were perpetrating on the American people?
As a matter of fact, my friend David Barton says that you could consider the Declaration as a series of sermon summaries.
Going on, he took a history tangent, just for fun:
By the way, how many of you know there was a black patriot riding with Paul Revere? His name was Wentworth Cheswill. He was the first African-American to occupy public office in America. And he held nine different posts in public office before the year 1800.
Now Tom [Delay] also talked about people like George Whitfield, and Jonathan Edwards. But you know, along with— a little bit later there was a black preacher called Harry Hoosier. From Indiana. As a matter of fact, most people in Indiana don’t know why they are called the Hoosiers. Because of a black preacher called, in the early 1800s, the greatest orator in America. See, all of that has been erased from history books.
We lived in Indiana when son Political Sphere was born, for just a couple of years. Loved it there. But he’s right, we didn’t know—and no one around us seemed to know—where the name Hoosiers came from. Now I know.
Returning back to the story of the Constitution, he tells the story about a tough time during the summer of the Constitutional Convention, about four weeks in, when Benjamin Franklin makes an important suggestion. He roughly quotes Franklin here, sometimes paraphrasing him (my transcription will look like it’s all an actual quote, for simplicity):
Anyway, it was falling apart. And it was none other than this so-called Godless Benjamin Franklin that addresses the president of the convention, George Washington. And Franklin says,[i] “Sir, how is it that we have not once called upon the Father of Lights to illuminate our understanding? Or, have we forgotten, when we first started our struggle against Great Britain, how we met in this very chamber every morning for prayer, seeking His protection? Sir, those prayers were graciously answered. Are we to think that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more sure I am of this truth: that God governs the affairs of men.
“If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His knowledge, is it probable that an empire can be built without His aid? As the holy scriptures tell us, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that built it.’ If we proceed to build this endeavor without Him, we will fare no better than the builders of Babel.”
He concluded, and I paraphrase, “I beseech you therefore, that from now henceforth, before we proceed to our deliberations, we meet in this chamber on our knees for prayer, seeking His wisdom and direction.”
They left the Constitutional Convention under the leadership of pastor John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration. They met together for prayer and fasting. They came back to the Constitutional Convention in a totally different mood. Totally harmony, on their knees, seeking wisdom.
Seven weeks later they gave us the greatest document that has ever been written in history outside of the Bible: the Constitution of the United States of America.
I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt the reason our Constitution has lasted 230 years is because it is a divinely inspired document, because it was born on the knees of the framers. We need to honor our Constitution.
I’m convinced of that as well. I’m used to hearing these words among my church leaders. For example, J. Reuben Clark (for whom the Brigham Young University's law school is named), said,
My faith teaches me that the Constitution is an inspired document drawn by the hands of men whom God raised up for that very purpose; that God has given His approval of the Government set up under the Constitution “for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles”:[ii] that the constitutional “principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before” the Lord….
So far as my knowledge goes, this is the only government now on the earth to which God has given such an approval. It is His plan for the government of free men.[iii]
Point one is, the Constitution is divinely inspired. Point two is, we should read it and learn what it says. And what it doesn’t say:
Article I Section 8 of the Constitution only has 18 enumerated powers of Congress. If it ain’t there, the federal government’s got no business being involved in it.
You need to read Article I Section 8. The word education—nowhere in Article 1 Section 8. The Department of Education is unconstitutional. Marriage or the family—nowhere in Article 1 Section 8. Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to talk about marriage. But you see, we don’t know the Constitution.
Here’s a rule of thumb he shared with us: “The bigger the federal government, the lesser is your freedom.”
As he puts it,
You know, I must have told my son two dozen times, when he was growing up, when I lost my freedom in Cuba, I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here, where are we going to go? There is no place to go.
If you’re not familiar with his story, he escaped Cuba nearly 60 years ago. He tells this story with a purpose:
One of the greatest things about America is the American dream. Just look at my life. When I came to this country, I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t speak a word of English. But I’ll tell you what; I worked my butt off. I worked full-time, went to school full-time. Got my degree in three and a half years, working in a restaurant 8 hours a day, going to school full-time. Seven years later I owned an oil exploration company. That’s America. And, within one generation I saw my son become a US senator and a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Only in America! Only in America! Only in America!
Rafael Cruz is a high energy speaker. Quintessentially passionate. His purpose is to wake us up, inform us, and motivate us to take action. I don’t think there’s any keeping up with this octogenarian. But I agree with him that the stakes are high. He repeated a warning Reagan quote,
You know, Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is not free. Freedom is not passed down from generation to generation in our bloodstream. Every generation has to fight to protect it and defend it. Or we may find ourselves in our later years, talking to our children and our children’s children about what it was like when men were free in America.” I don’t know about you; I’m not willing to have that conversation. And neither should you.
I’m not willing to have that conversation either. This exceptional country, with its exceptional, inspired Constitution, is worth doing what it takes to conserve.
[i] Benjamin Franklin’s prayer speech can be found here: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/benfranklin.htm
[ii] The scriptures quote are from Latter-day Saint scripture, the Doctrine & Covenants 101:77, 98:5.
[iii] President J. Reuben Clark, Stand Fast by Our Constitution, pp. 7, 172.