When Senator Ted Cruz was invited to speak at a dinner for the non-profit group "In Defense of Christians," he said that the night should have been one of unity. However, what he found at the Middle Eastern Christians event was "a shameful display of bigotry and hatred" as hecklers booed and shouted him down. He had some strong words to say to the audience before he walked off stage.
The booing started when Cruz said, "Christians have no greater ally than Israel."
According to the IDC (In Defense of Christians) website, the three-day Summit held in Washington D.C. is one which seeks to bring together Christians, whether "Orthodox or Catholic; Evangelical, Coptic or Maronite; Syriac, Lebanese, Chaldean or Assyrian – all Middle Eastern Christians" in a show of unity and solidarity to defend Christian communities in the Middle East, affect policy makers and public outreach to the American people.
Senator Ted Cruz joined a number of other Congressmen and religious leaders as a speaker for the event. He spoke Wednesday night at the sold-out Gala Solidarity Dinner. The theme was "Religious Freedom and Human Dignity."
According to The Daily Mail, Ted Cruz began his message, speaking from the heart.
"Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings."He spoke of the religious bigotry of groups like ISIS, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and Hamas, who "are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East." Cruz condemned the evil which seeks to kill and destroy those minorities, which he called "a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis."
Then, Ted Cruz spoke words that have been spoken by numerous leaders in the United States, including President Ronald Reagan, "Christians have no greater ally than Israel."
While Cruz said in a Facebook post to his followers that there were many Christians in the audience that applauded that point, some individuals in the crowd started booing and shouting, "Stop it!"
Cruz attempted to speak over the growing hostility in the crowd, reports The Blaze.
"Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason."The president of the organization, Toufic Baaklini, came onto the stage in a vain attempt to calm the crowd, but it just got worse. Ted Cruz expressed his dismay at the turn of events, "I am saddened to see that some here, not everyone, but some here, are so consumed with hate." The rest of his words at that point were drowned out by the shouting.
At that point, Senator Ted Cruz walked off the stage with this powerful parting shot:
"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless."The conference is supported by some groups that are associated with Hezbollah, reports the Washington Free Beacon. The organizers reported that the Summit was funded by Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who donated $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.
Senator Ted Cruz was aware that a number of controversial leaders were a part of the organization. However, he made the decision to accept the invitation to speak, according to Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier.
"Sen. Cruz is appearing at the In Defense of Christians event tonight because he wants to take every opportunity to highlight this crisis, the unspeakable persecution of Christians. America has been silent for far too long, and we need to speak with a united voice against this horror. Sen. Cruz is speaking to make the unequivocal point that religious bigotry in all its forms–be it targeting Christians, Jews, or minority Muslim sects–is an evil that must be exposed and combatted."In his own statement, Ted Cruz spoke of why he was at the IDC dinner.
"I came to this event tonight to help shine a light on the tragic persecution and slaughter of Christians by ISIS and Islamic radicals throughout the Middle East. American leaders have been far too silent as to this horrific evil."Cruz connected the acts of Hamas toward Israel with the acts of ISIS toward Middle Eastern Christians. Just as ISIS has vowed to exterminate Christians in the regions it takes over, Hamas has vowed to eliminate the Jewish people. That goal is stated in their charter, as reported by The Inquisitr.
"I told the attendees that those who hate Israel also hate America, that those who hate Jews also hate Christians, and that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ." That statement by Ted Cruz is reminiscent of the words of Genesis to the Israelites, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
The actions of the group, In Defense of Christians, stand in stark contrast to many other Christian groups. One group, Christians United for Israel, holds over 40 pro-Israel events each month throughout the United States. Their stated mission is to "provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues."
The Christian Defense Coalition was also much more welcoming to Senator Ted Cruz when he was a part of their events.
It remains to be seen what the reaction will be across the media and in the public arena to the booing of Senator Ted Cruz and his response of walking off the stage. We would like to know what your reaction is. Let us know in the comments.
[images via flickr and Christians United For Israel]