Analyst Chip Berlet and I have suggested that there is a dominionist spectrum running from soft to hard as a way of making some broad distinctions among dominionists without getting mired in theological minutiae.In many ways, Ted Cruz personifies the story of dominionism: how it became the ideological engine of the Christian Right, and how it illuminates the changes underway in American politics, culture and religion that have helped shape recent history.It was there that Ronald Reagan famously declared: “I know you can’t endorse me, but I endorse you and what you are doing.”Some see Ted Cruz as not only following in the footsteps of Reagan, but fulfilling a religious destiny. During a sermon at the New Beginnings church in Bedford, Texas, in 2012, Rafael had described his son’s Senate campaign as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy that “God would anoint Christian ‘kings’ to preside over an ‘end-time transfer of wealth’ from the wicked to the righteous.”“According to his father and [New Beginnings Pastor Larry] Huch, Ted Cruz is anointed by God to help Christians in their effort to “go to the marketplace and occupy the land … “This ‘end-time transfer of wealth’ will relieve Christians of all financial woes, allowing true believers to ascend to a position of political and cultural power in which they can build a Christian civilization.When this Christian nation is in place (or back in place), Jesus will return.”Rafael Cruz and Huch have long embraced a strain of evangelical theology called Seven Mountains dominionism, which calls for believers to take control over seven leading aspects of culture: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business, and government.Ted Cruz has, perhaps shrewdly, neither publicly affirmed nor denied the dominionism that surrounds him.He is a longtime member of a prominent Houston Baptist congregation, but his embrace of the dominionist vision is evident to those who are paying attention.
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Briefly, Christian Reconstructionism, founded by the late theologian R. Rushdoony (1916-2001) advances the idea that Christians must not only dominate society, but institute and enforce Old Testament biblical law.The thinking was that Cruz did well enough in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries before losing to celebrity billionaire Donald Trump that he could plan to run again in 2020 or 2024.“He was with kindred spirits,” said Brent Bozell, the conservative activist who hosted the meeting, “and I would say most people in that room see him as the leader of the conservative movement.”The rise of Ted Cruz is a singular event in American political history.“Ted got a dose of conservative politics from a biblical worldview for a whole year when he was nine years old.” That was the year the Religious Roundtable hosted the historic National Affairs Briefing conference in Dallas.
It was held in tandem with the 1980 Republican National Convention, and attended by some 17,000 conservative Christians. It’s meteoric,” David Brody, chief political correspondent for the Evangelical historian John Fea explained why Cruz might be viewed this way.
Since arriving in the Senate in 2103, he has made a show of sticking to his principles, much to the chagrin of his colleagues.