EXCLUSIVE: Ted Cruz Believing God for Third Great Awakening

Ted Cruz during his Iowa Caucus victory speech.
Ted Cruz during his Iowa Caucus victory speech. (Reuters)

When we sat down with Sen. Ted Cruz near Dallas recently, I (Jennifer) had one major question on my mind. Beyond politics, positions and policies, I wanted to know one thing: Is Cruz contending for a Third Great Awakening?

I asked. He answered. You can also listen to the podcast of this interview here. 

You can still read the previous installments of this series: Ted Cruz Recounts the Night He Met Jesus, "The Real Reason Ted Cruz Wants to Be President" and "Is Ted Cruz a Reagan 2.0?" 

Charisma: Some say it's too late for America. I know you don't believe that, but many of us are believing for another great awakening, for spiritual revival. Are you believing for that, and if so, what role does a president play in setting the stage for that?

Cruz: Our country's history has been intertwined with spiritual revival. My father today travels the country speaking to other pastors, and he has a real ministry reaching out to pastors and encouraging them to stand and lead and engage in the public arena. One of the things my father lays out at pastors' conferences is that the American Revolution didn't begin in the 1760s and the 1770s, but it really began 40 years earlier with the First Great Awakening. If one looks at the Declaration of Independence, each of those grievances against England had been preached against in the pulpits for decades before that and it set the stage for a transformation, a new birth of freedom, as Lincoln put it, in this country that began with the Great Awakening. To turn America around today, I believe we need another great awakening, and I believe it's happening. It's one of the reasons I'm so optimistic and so encouraged as I travel the country. People are waking up. They're realizing that what we're doing doesn't make any sense. They're realizing that we're losing who we are, forgetting who we are. One example, just weeks ago, the Federal Department of Education was trying to order a public junior high to allow boys to shower with junior high girls. That's not a reasonable public policy position on which we should have an extended discourse. That's just nuts! It makes no sense whatsoever, and as I like to joke, my 5-year-old daughter, Katherine, she understands the difference between boys and girls, but the U.S. Department of Education can't figure that out.

The Federal Government is sending over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khomeini who chants, "Death to America!" and has pledged to murder as many of us as possible. That's not a reasonable foreign policy position. That's just nuts! It harkens back as I said to 1980, when you look at the manifest failure of the Carter administration, and what happened was people who had never been involved in politics, millions of them, people who had been going to work, going to church, raising their kids, looked up and said: "What on earth are we doing? This isn't America." One of my favorite lines from the movie The Usual Suspects is the greatest trick the devil has ever played is to convince the world he didn't exist. I've suggested a corollary to that which is the greatest trick the Left has ever played is to convince conservatives that America doesn't share our values. It is a lie. Conservatives win nationally when we effectively articulate what it is we believe. Liberals win nationally when they effectively obfuscate what they believe. The reason is simple. This country is and remains a center-right country, built on Judeo-Christian values.

One of the things—if you look at Hillary Clinton—is she has a manifest contempt and condescension for the vast majority of the American people. She embodies the elite Washington view that most of America in the "fly over" part the country (area between New York and Los Angeles) are a bunch of ignorant rubes who in her view need to be governed by her intellectual and moral betters, and unlike Barack Obama, she is not very good at covering up that contempt and condescension. It comes across overwhelmingly. If you look at what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, he never lectured the American people. He never condescended. He simply spoke for the values of who we are—common-sense conservative values that every small town, every small business, that families across this country understood for centuries. Live within your means, individual responsibility, don't bankrupt your kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution. These are basic common-sense principles.

Far too many Americans have become convinced by the brainwashing of the media and of Hollywood that our country's lost our ... I'll give an example. Following the Supreme Court's utterly illegitimate gay marriage decision. I spent a lot of time denouncing the decision, laying out how it was completely unconstitutional, how five unelected judges who have no authority whatsoever to set aside the marriage laws of all 50 states. Inevitably when I do media interviews—and I did a lot of them following that decision—smug liberal reporters would say, "Well, aren't you fighting against history? The overwhelming majority of American now support gay marriage." My response was, I wouldn't get angry, I would just chuckle and I'd say: "Really? Well, I understand you keep saying that on television over and over again and I understand you can cook up an opinion poll if you phrase the questions the right way, you can get the answers you want, but you know, facts are stubborn things, as John Adams used to say. And the facts are that every time the American people have a chance to vote on this, they disagree with what you're smugly saying on television. There's a reason that 44 states in this country have adopted either constitutional amendments or legislation protecting traditional marriage as a union between one man and one woman. You insist everyone agrees with you, but when the people go vote, somehow they don't behave the way you're telling us we should behave, even California—the People's Republic of California, bright blue, liberal California. When they voted on a statewide referendum, a majority of Californians voted to preserve traditional marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And by the way, some of the biggest support came in the minority community. It came among Hispanics, it came among African-Americans." And I pointed out to the reporters, "If you're right, that the American people agree with you, why did you need a lawsuit? Why are you going to the Supreme Court? If you could win at the ballot box, you wouldn't bother getting five unelected judges to tear down the laws because you could win at the ballot box." But that's one example where we're told every day: "Marriage is lost, life is lost, religious liberty is lost, your values are lost." It's all a lie and is a conscious, deliberate lie from the media who are partisan political players. How do we turn our country around, to get back to your question about an awakening. In 1980, we saw both a religious and a political awakening and they were intertwined. My father was very, very active in the religious roundtable in 1980, and going back to your question about growing up as a preacher's kid, when I was 9 and 10 years old, every day at the dinner table what we talked about was the Reagan Revolution. My father was very active getting Christians who'd never been involved in politics to stand up and fight for our values, and it's why it shocked the media. The media were convinced Jimmy Carter was unbeatable. Two weeks before the election in 1980, the New York Times ran a banner headline: "President Carter Will Be Re-Elected by Double Digits." They were utterly flabbergasted by what happened and what happened was millions of Christian who hadn't been involved in politics stood up and voted our values.

How do we win in 2016? It's very simple. The body of Christ has to awaken and rise up. You know, when my father speaks at pastors' conferences, and he has spoken at hundreds of pastors' conferences, he delivers a message that's a hard message. A number of years ago, God really laid on his heart a message that nobody is more responsible for the condition of this country than the pastors. The analogy my father uses, he says, when the flock stumbles into a ditch, you don't blame the sheep; you blame the shepherd. There are far too many pastors who, as my father puts it, hide behind the pulpit. They understand that the Bible speaks to every major issue facing this country today and yet, if you demonstrate the courage of the pastors in The First Great Awakening and if you demonstrate courage of the black-robed regiment, you face criticism, you face scrutiny, you may even have some members of your congregation leave, so it's far easier to avoid controversial issues. Today there are roughly 90 million evangelical Christians in America. In 2012, 54 million evangelicals stayed home. A majority of evangelical Christians did not vote in the last presidential election. You combine that with the so-called Reagan Democrats, the blue-collar working class Catholics across the Midwest and in New England, socially conservative-values working class stayed home in massive numbers. With tens of millions of Christians not voting, if we leave the selection of our leaders to nonbelievers, is it any wonder we have the government we have? Is it any wonder we have a government that daily manifests hostility and even hatred for the values of life, of marriage, of religious liberty? Is it any wonder that we have the most anti-Israel administration in the history the world? Is it any wonder that we have an administration that embraces and coddles radical Islamic terrorism, indeed engages in a politically correct sanitizing where neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton will even utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism"? All of this is the consequence of believers not following our scriptural duty. We're told to be salt and light in the world. You can't be salt if you don't come into contact with that which you are to preserve. You can't be light if you're hidden under a bushel. We're commanded to be watchmen on the wall.

How do we turn our country around? Very simple: If every Bible-believing Christian simply showed up in 2016 and votes our values, we don't just win, we win overwhelmingly. The mainstream media are astonished, are befuddled, are confused, and we turn the country around by getting back to those values, and nothing matters more than that awakening. It's both a spiritual awakening and a political awakening where Christians simply stand up and vote our values. That's how we preserve the fundamental liberties on which this country was built.  

Jennifer LeClaire is senior leader of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founder of the Ignite Network and founder of the Awakening Blaze prayer movement. She is author of over 25 books. Find her online at jenniferleclaire.org or email her at info@jenniferleclaire.org.

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