Does Ted Cruz Have a Messiah Complex?

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Rafael Cruz, father of Ted Cruz, is a preacher of the far-right doctrine of dominionism, which holds that Christians should take over the government and save it from the wicked.

When Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president, many assumed he would quietly distance himself from his father, Rafael Cruz, since the elder Cruz has long been extreme in his religious views, and outspoken in proclaiming them.

But the opposite has been the case. Rafael Cruz has been the senator’s primary surrogate on the campaign trail, particularly with the evangelical voters who are now Ted Cruz’s base. The two have frequently spoken together, prayed together, campaigned together—even shot highly awkward “slice of life” videos together.

The reason Ted Cruz might be reluctant to embrace his father so publicly is that Rafael Cruz subscribes to what is known as dominionism, which holds that Christianity should exercise “dominion” over all of society, not just the traditional boundaries of religion.

Historically, dominionism began as an offshoot of Christian Reconstructionism, the sect founded in the 1960s by defender-of-slavery R.J. Rushdoony that seeks to replace secular law with Biblical law, stonings and all. More moderate versions of Reconstructionism began to take hold in the New Christian Right, which began in the 1970s as an effort to re-engage evangelicals in politics and fight back against the sexual revolution and the civil rights movement. Dominionism was one such version.

The etymological and Scriptural roots of dominionism are God’s command that Adam and Eve should “have dominion over all the earth” and Isaiah 2:2, which says, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains.” Those “mountains” are interpreted not literally but figuratively (evangelicals are actually only selectively literalistic) as referring to the “seven mountains” of society, specifically family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, government, education, and business.

And since an overwhelming majority of evangelicals—more than 75 percent, according to recent surveys—believe that the “latter days” are already here, the time for dominion is now. Hence the recent flood of Christian movies like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Christian businesses like Hobby Lobby, and Christian politicians like Pat Robertson.

Rafael Cruz’s new book, A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America, makes this theology quite clear. In it, he writes, “The Bible tells us that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world… Doesn’t that suggest that our influence should touch every area of society—our families, the media, sports, arts and entertainment, education, business, and government?”

Notice that not only did Cruz state the dominionist view in general, but he listed the specific “seven mountains” in which dominionists believe.

(Notably, Cruz has not appeared to have signed on to a more radical version of dominionism called the New Apostolic Reformation, which believes literally that the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under Satan’s authority, and that Christians must engage in “spiritual warfare” against them. Though the NAR sponsored Rick Perry’s 2011 prayer revival The Response and now have outsize influence in Christian Zionism, many conservative Christians believe it to be a kind of cult.)

Rafael Cruz’s views of his son’s role in all of this are literally messianic. When Ted was 4 years old, Rafael says that he told him “You know, Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness.”

Of course, lots of parents have high expectations for their children, though perhaps not that high. Rafael Cruz, however, has a very specific, messianic role in mind. Consider the following sermons given on Aug. 26, 2012, at the Irving, Texas, megachurch of Christian Zionist Larry Hugh—the entire service and sermons are available online.

First, surrounded by Jewish symbols including a menorah, a Jewish star on the lectern, and a shofar in his hand, Pastor Huch noted that 2012 would be the year of “divine government—that God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, but God and God’s people will begin to rule and reign.” (According to Huch, this was because of the numerological significance of the number 12, not the Mayan calendar.)

Then he said, “I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected—Ted Cruz, the next senator. But here’s the exciting thing… in a few weeks begins that year 2012, and this will begin what we call the End Times transfer of wealth… When gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grow and grow and grow… We will usher in the coming of the messiah.”

Next, Rafael Cruz took the stage. He noted that in the Bible, “the king and the priest complemented each other.” He then complained (as he has many times) that most churches are focused only on the “priestly anointing” but that most should take on the role of kings going to battle: “The battlefield is the marketplace… go to the marketplace and take dominion… that dominion is not just in the church, it is over every area: society, education, government, economics.”

Citing the Book of Proverbs, Cruz preached that “the wealth of the wicked is stored for the righteous. And it is through the kings, anointed to take dominion, that that transfer of wealth is going to occur.”

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast
Jay Michaelson