Christian supremacist Ted Cruz ducks question about endorsing “kill the gays” pastor

Ted Cruz has made religious freedom a focal point of his campaign, railing against the “atheist Taliban” that seeks to suppress the voices and rights of committed Christians around the country.

Relatedly, Cruz is also set to join Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal at a religious liberty confab with Pastor Kevin Swanson. If you’re unfamiliar with Kevin Swanson, Right Wing Watch has put together a rather comprehensive survey of his body of work as it relates to LGBT people, among other things. Swanson celebrated the murder of an abortion provider, argued that sex slavery is actually better than social welfare programs, believes that God gave gay people AIDS as an “act of kindness,” and thinks Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill should be a model for the United States — among many other things that are, as Ted Cruz would say, politically incorrect.

One would think that someone committed to religious freedom, but not religious supremacy, would at the very most be willing to let Swanson hold his hateful views and go about his business. Anything more than that, and you’re running up on an endorsement of some views that are the literal opposite of “live and let live.” But Cruz, when asked by Jake Tapper if he considers it at all problematic that he’s attending the conference, Cruz seemed positively unbothered:

JAKE TAPPER: Quickly if you could, you are speaking at a conference this weekend, the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines. It’s organized by a guy named Kevin Swanson. You’ve been very outspoken about what you deem liberal intolerance of Christians, but Kevin Swanson has said some very inflammatory things about gays and lesbians. He believes Christians should hold up signs at gay weddings holding up the Leviticus verse, instructing the faithful to put gays to death because what they do is an abomination. I don’t hold you responsible for what other people say, but given your concern about liberal intolerance, are you not, in some ways, endorsing conservative intolerance?

TED CRUZ: Listen, I don’t know what this gentleman has said or hasn’t said. I know that when it comes to religious liberty, this is a passion of mine and has been for decades and that I have been fighting for religious liberty for everyone. Fighting for religious liberty for Christians, for Jews, for Muslims, for every one of us to practice our faith. And in the last six and a half years under the Obama administration, we have seen an assault on religious liberty from the federal government. You know, couple months ago I hosted a rally for religious liberty in Iowa had 2,500 people come out. The single biggest political event in the state of Iowa this year and we had nine heroes, people who stood up for their faith who just told their stories and it was powerful. You can go and watch those stories on our website, and you know, the amazing thing is many in the media diminish threats on religious liberty say they’re not real. What I tried to do in that event is withdraw myself and have the focus be on them telling their stories.

Ted Cruz says he doesn’t know what Swanson has said or hasn’t said? Bullshit. And if you really didn’t know, well, there’s Jake Tapper telling it to your face. At least take the opportunity to say that Swanson’s comments, if true, are horrible and offensive and that we can be all for religious liberty without killing people. Instead, you dissembled about fighting for religious liberty for members of all faiths — intentionally leaving out those who don’t belong to any of the three major monotheisms.

Ted Cruz is about to go to Iowa to shake his tush for voters who literally want a large subset of the American people killed off. In a public, celebratory manner. If he’s really so over it when it comes to political correctness, he’d come right out and say so. If he’s uncomfortable acknowledging the views of the voters he needs in order to win the Republican nomination, then maybe he’s ready to admit that some political views really are incorrect after all.

(h/t Joe.My.God.)

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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