The presidential campaign of Republican candidate Ted Cruz presents many paradoxes, not the least of which is that the senator from Texas “styles himself a populist, and yet nearly everyone who knows him well detests him,” writes Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer in a Religion & Politics opinion piece.
But the paradox that Balmer, the John Phillips Professor in Religion, finds most intriguing is Cruz’s ties to evangelicalism.
“At one level, judging by evangelical politics over the past several decades, that claim is unexceptional,” Balmer writes. “As John Fea, of Messiah College, has written for Religion News Service, one of Cruz’s biggest supporters is the faux historian David Barton, who has fashioned an entire career out of arguing, against overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Although Barton and his arguments have been widely discredited—he apparently fabricated quotes to buttress his specious claims, so many that Thomas Nelson Publishers recalled one of his books—Cruz has not renounced Barton’s support. The payoff, according to Fea, is that, having asserted America’s Christian origins, Cruz can more credibly spin his campaign yarn about America’s declension from the piety of the founders, a decline that reaches its predictable nadir in Barack Obama’s presidency.”
Read the full story, published 4/19/16 by Religion & Politics.