Ted Cruz: ‘I’m a Christian first, American second.’ Imagine if Muslim or Jewish politician said that

By Ian Reifowitz | 22 January 2016
Daily Kos

“I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth…I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way.”

His Christianity is probably the last thing Ted Cruz ever thought would give him problems. However, a new ad produced by Americans United for Values attacks him for being, get this, a “false prophet.” Among other slings and arrows hurled, the ad slams Cruz for not tithing—donating 10 percent of his income to charity—something many Christians believe is a sacred obligation. Cruz, it seems, has donated only about one percent of his income—which came to around $1 million annually—to charity between 2006 and 2010.

In response to the ad and other attacks on his Christianity as well as his conservatism, Cruz responded:

“I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth…I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way.”

The politics of this aside, I want to highlight here something we might call Christian Privilege. Could you imagine, for example, a Jewish candidate for president saying that he or she was a Jew first and an American second? Now imagine the sheer outrage if a Muslim American of any prominence whatsoever declared that he or she was Muslim first and American second. People’s heads would explode.

On a related note, imagine a presidential candidate saying he or she was black, white, or Latino (or any other ethnic group) first, and American second. President Obama—and, having done extensive research on his conception of ethnic and national identity, I believe he sincerely feels this way—made crystal clear before 2008 that his identification as an American took precedence over his blackness.  Without doubt, he could not have been elected president without having done so.

I want, no, I demand, a president whose first loyalty is to the Constitution, and to the people—all the people—he or she was elected to serve. Only a Christian has the privilege—and only ones like Ted Cruz, who present themselves as holier than thou, would have the gall—to claim otherwise.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Not necessarily, but it is a secular government and those that hold office should put the Constitution before their religious beliefs while carrying out the duties of said office. If they cannot, then they aren’t right for the job (and that’s ok). This is the only way to sustain rights such as freedom of religion. “Who we are” as a country, is based on exactly that (amongst other things). Jesus/Christianity did not invent compassion, honesty, integrity, charity, understanding, hard work, courage, and many other values that we Americans hold dear. Therefore, it is absolutely possible to have a separation of church and state, religion and public office and be a decent people as a whole…all the while adhering to the Constitution that we ALL enjoy. If you want religion involved in the governance of state and country, I suggest looking into moving elsewhere. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. Not a Muslim? There are plenty of countries that force Christianity amongst it’s citizens…many are in South America (hey, it’s warm!) There are European countries that have Christianity as an official religion too. The point is that religion has absolutely no place in our government and that is part of why our country is so great. It allows the citizens to worship who they want, how they want, and hold whatever values they want, without bias or prejudice from the government.

    • Wholeheartedly agree. I believe Jesus would be appalled by our current president. How do Christians reconcile their beliefs with his complete lack of morals, compassion and honesty?

  2. “Judaeo-Christian values” are not a thing, and certainly not a thing that built America.

    Mosaic law is primarily theocratic, and that was explicitly repudiated in the First Amendment. And the entire point of Christianity is that the Old Covenant is replaced by the New. Look at the way Pharisees, observant orthodox priests, were treated in the Gospels.

    Judaeo-Christian means “Christian without the love and forgiveness”. That is to say, not Christian.

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