Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ted Cruz, Defender of the U.S. Constitution

Senator Ted Cruz on "The Today Show"
If I were Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, I'd ask right now if there were a "sarcasm sign" to hold up next to the title of this blog post. After listening to Savannah Guthrie interview Ted Cruz yesterday morning on The Today Show, I was holding up a mental sarcasm sign, disappointed in the angle Guthrie took with Cruz.  Of course, he still revealed interesting thoughts that he had about marriage and the Supreme Court, and I wondered if he realized what he was saying about religion and government in this country, and how it violated the First Amendment he claimed to fight to defend.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes the separation of church, i.e. religion, and state.  We learned in school that the Founders wanted to insure that there would not be a state religion, as there was in England at the time, and that anyone of any religious belief would be free to observe their religious practice in this country without discrimination or persecution.  While the Founders were Christian and Christian values guided their lives, they purposefully made our government so that it would not matter what your religious belief was in order to be elected or appointed to public office.  It doesn't matter at all what religion Ted Cruz is -- his religious belief doesn't prohibit him from holding a government office.

So it was alarming to hear Mr. Cruz comment that there were no Protestants or Evangelicals on the Supreme Court.  What religious affiliation a Supreme Court Justice has doesn't matter and should not be relevant to his or her legal decisions.  The U.S. Constitution makes that so for every branch of our government.  Mr. Cruz, however, does have a religious agenda, I believe, concerning laws governing marriage.  He is not content to let the rule of law govern, whether the states make the law or the federal government.  I understood that he also wants marriage governed by religion, specifically Christianity (although he'd probably be OK with Judaism, too.  But I wonder how he feels about the other major world religions, or if he knows really anything about them.).

Then, Senator Cruz comments that he's spent years "fighting for religious liberty."  Really?  How do we not have freedom of religion in this country?  We do.  His "fight," if it's truly for religious liberty, is unnecessary and a big waste of his time.  However, as he continued to speak, I realized it wasn't religious liberty that he had fought for, but the imposition of Christianity upon American society to the exclusion of all other religions.  This is not religious liberty.  This is the establishment of a state church and creating the conditions to persecute believers of other religions.

U.S. Supreme Court


Next, the Supreme Court's job is to determine if a law is constitutional or not.  If they find it is, the law stands.  If they find it's not, the law either no longer stands or is sent back to the relevant legislature for revision.  The Supreme Court Justices need to be experts in Constitutional law, right?  They need to be well educated, articulate, and especially knowledgeable about our government and laws.  Senator Cruz states that with the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage nationally, it "threw out marriage laws of all 50 states."  Well...no, not really.  The Justices, as I understand it, ruled that laws banning gay marriage were unconstitutional, and they did not rule on heterosexual marriage laws.  Men and women can continue to marry in all 50 states.

When Guthrie brings up interracial marriage and its comparison as a social issue to gay marriage, Senator Cruz disagrees that they are comparable because we fought a Civil War to end slavery and so African Americans would have equal rights under the law. (I guess we need to fight a Civil War over gay marriage?)  He seems to forget that Blacks may have been freed as a result of the Emancipation Declaration (13th Amendment), but they did not enjoy equal rights under the law as a result of the Civil War.  It wouldn't be until the Civil Rights Movement erupted almost 100 years later that they finally won the laws that gave that to them.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices 2010
Senator Cruz also claimed that the Supreme Court Justices have inserted themselves into politics when they should not.  This was an accusation that surfaced also after the 2000 presidential election when the Supreme Court ended up deciding the election's outcome.  Cruz says the Justices are elites that look down on the rest of us, and there needs to be a way to remove them from the Supreme Court if the electorate is unhappy with their job performance.  He wants them to be elected officials, not appointed by a president and ratified by Congress.  Guthrie pointed out that the Founders had been very clear about the reason the Judicial branch of the government would not be elected -- to be separated from politics, and in this day and age, separated from political fundraising, corruption, and saying one thing to get elected but doing the opposite once in office.

Senator Ted Cruz does not impress me.  At all.  Granted, he appeared on The Today Show for the interview to promote his book and his presidential candidacy.  He is a prime example of a politician, and an example of what we do not want our Supreme Court Justices to turn into if Cruz gets his Constitutional Amendment for "retention" elections. What impressed me about Senator Ted Cruz was just how little, in this interview, he demonstrated Christian values, especially those of love, acceptance, compassion, seeking to understand, and kindness.


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