Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas fired up a roomful of social conservatives Friday, urging them to hold fast to their values with a little more than a month left until this year’s midterm elections and opening up about how faith influenced the lives of his parents.
Mr. Cruz, a possible 2016 presidential contender, drew a standing ovation from the crowd at the 2014 Values Voter Summit even before he spoke, eschewing a podium during his approximately 30-minute address and choosing to speak onstage nearby.
“We are here today because every man and woman in this room knows and understands that morning is coming,” he said. “Morning is coming.”
“Our values are why we’re here,” he said. “And our values are fundamentally American.”
He brought the crowd to its feet multiple times, including when he applauded Meriam Ibrahim, for whom there is scheduled to be a gala dinner Saturday night at the summit. Ms. Ibrahim had faced death in Sudan for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
“This is a time of great crisis but it is no greater than the crisis Meriam Ibrahim faced in that cell in Sudan,” he said. “It is no greater than the crisis so many of us have faced in our own lives.”
Mr. Cruz recounted the story of his father, Rafael, being thrown in a Cuban prison during the revolution.
“Even when he was in that Cuban jail, God was with him,” he said. “By all rights my father should have perished there. But God’s hand brought him from captivity to freedom. God’s grace brought him to the United States of America.”
He went on to say that when his parents were living in Calgary, both of them “drank far too much” and neither of them were people of faith at the time. His father went back to Texas when the younger Mr. Cruz was three after “deciding he didn’t want a three-year-old son.”
But after accepting an invitation from a colleague to come with him to Clay Road Baptist Church, Rafael Cruz “gave his life to Christ” and returned to Calgary, his son told the crowd.
“So when anyone asks is faith real, is a relationship with Jesus real? I can tell you if it were not for my father giving his life to Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother without having my dad in the home,” he said. “Every one of us, we have seen first-hand that in utter darkness hope remains.”
Mr. Cruz also urged attendees who want to defend religious liberty, Second Amendment rights and the right to privacy to “vote Harry Reid out” in the upcoming midterm elections.
“I believe we are going to re-take the United States Senate and we are going to retire Harry Reid,” he said. “And in 2017, with a Republican president in the White House, we are going to sign legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.”
Mr. Cruz crushed the field in the presidential straw poll at last year’s Values Voter Summit, winning 42 percent of the vote to 13 percent apiece for former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Dr. Ben Carson.