Skip to main content

Ted Cruz’s Father Compares America to a Sunken Italian Cruise Ship

Sen. Ted Cruz's father has a new book that is a call to action for Christians as the 2016 election nears. He writes that the nation is going down the wrong path and compares it to an Italian cruise ship that ran aground in 2012, killing 32.

By Katie Zezima, The Washington Post
Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, accompanies his son at a campaign forum at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

Sen. Ted Cruz has a potent surrogate in his father, Rafael, a pastor who has played a leading role in courting evangelical Christian voters for the campaign. Now Rafael Cruz has a new book that is a call to action for Christians in the United States as the 2016 election approaches.

The book, "A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America," is an autobiography, history lesson, manifesto and blueprint for how Christians should work to play a bigger role in the political and public spheres. The book will be released on Jan. 1, but The Washington Post obtained an advance copy.

Rafael Cruz has been known to make inflammatory comments in the past, including comparing President Obama to Fidel Castro — an assertion he repeats in the book — and stating that LGBT activists will try to legalize pedophilia.

Cruz writes that the United States is going down the wrong path — he compares it to the Costa Concordia, an  Italian cruise ship that ran aground in 2012, killing 32 people.

"America, too, is headed straight toward a perilous reef," Cruz writes. "If we don't make an immediate change of course, the dream of our Founding Fathers and many conservative Americans today will perish."

The 76-year-old pastor warns that the United States could soon give in to secular humanism, a shift away from religion that Cruz said stems from socialism, social justice — which he said is a communist theory — and no moral absolutes. The Common Core education standards are one example of this, Cruz writes, and asks if a student writes something about the Bible that the teacher does not agree with, can the student be penalized?

Cruz writes that there is no such thing as separation of church and state and it is not enshrined in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The Ten Commandments, he writes, are the foundations for these documents. If the commandments were taken literally, he said, tax rates would drop because more people would be caring for their aging parents, divorce rates would drop, families would strengthen, "circumventing violent crime, gang activity and drug use," retail prices would plummet because fewer people would steal and bankruptcies would slow.

The pastor warns that there are five areas where the United States could change and "jeopardize our freedom," including that "freedom of religion could become freedom of worship," meaning that people would be punished for worshiping outside of churches. He said President Obama has made appointments of people who think the government should discriminate against Christians. Cruz said "gender lines could be blurred" due to transgender people and that a push for gun control could take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

The Obama administration, Cruz writes, "has intensified our progression into a culture of lawlessness" by creating a "dependent society," "attacking our civil and religious liberties" and leading the country away from Judeo-Christian values.

Cruz traces a moral fraying in the country to court decisions, including one in 1962 that banned prayer from schools, something he claims led to an increase in teen pregnancy, teenage STD rates and violent crime. He said the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973 has led to the murder of millions.

"The blood of more than 58 million babies cries out to God like the blood of Abel," he said.

Cruz said the church has remained silent on these rulings and others that he believes have plunged the nation into a moral crisis because pastors are afraid to speak up and offend people.

"Are we justifying the wicked by remaining silent?" he asked. "Silence is not an option."

Rafael Cruz is now calling for people of faith to get involved in the political process — he and his son claim that millions of evangelical Christians stayed home during the 2012 presidential race and can turn the tide of the 2016 election if they show up. He is urging people to become involved in an initiative that urges pastors to run for public office.

"If 'the righteous' are not voting, not even running for office, then what is left?" he asks. "'The wicked' — those who reject biblical precepts and foundations — will be voting for those who adhere to their same way of thinking. And the fault belongs to us for opting out of the process. If you don't vote you don't have the right to complain ... and you are part of the problem!"

While Cruz rails against communism and Cuba, he writes about fighting with pro-Castro rebels as a young man, wanting to go into the jungle and fight alongside Castro. Cruz said he recruited and formed a rebel unit — one in Havana and another later in his hometown of Matanzas — that focused on propaganda, weapons acquisition and some acts of sabotage. He was arrested and beaten by the police. He was released and decided to try to leave Cuba, applying to college in the United States. He was accepted by the University of Texas.

"With help from a lawyer friend, a Cuban government official was convinced to stamp my passport with the [exit] permit" to leave the country, he wrote.

Ted Cruz tells his father's story during his stump speeches as a tale of a young man who escaped oppression, came to the United States and worked as a dishwasher while attending college and improving his English, then opening his own business.

Rafael Cruz recounts his struggles, including going bankrupt, his divorce from his first wife and separation from Ted Cruz's mother. Rafael Cruz said that he was drinking too much, spending too much time traveling for work and at bars when he was home. He left the family and returned after a friend introduced him to a pastor and Bible study that caused him to become a born-again Christian. However, his wife told him that he had traded the bar for the church and wasn't spending too much time at home. His wife later became a devout Christian, he said, but Rafael Cruz and Ted's mother divorced years later.

Rafael Cruz said the book was meant to be a companion to his son's book, "A Time for Truth," which came out earlier this year.

"Part one is my story, part two is the American story and the involvement of pastors in the American revolution," Cruz said in Knoxville, Tenn. It is a story that, he said, hasn't been told because of "political correctness."

"I wanted to talk about the religious involvement, the involvement of pastors in the American revolution and also why pastors and Christians in general need to be involved in the civic society, both from a historical standpoint, and also from a biblical standpoint. And then the third part of the book is where do we go from here?" he said.

David Weigel contributed to this report.

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Support independent Texas news

Become a member. Join today.

Donate now

Explore related story topics

Politics 2016 elections Ted Cruz