Dear Senator Cruz,
I’ve written numerous times before. I am a constituent of yours here in Texas but since I am not a big donor and not a big fan, I’m guessing you’ve ignored all my previous letters. I won’t be silent though; I love my country too much and I see so many ways that you are damaging and dividing us. Your fear mongering is a very foolish strategy and I have no doubt it will come back to bite you.
Have you seen David Brooks latest op-ed in the New York Times? It’s strong. And in my opinion, right on.
Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear.
Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace…
Cruz exploits and exaggerates fear.
Cruz … sows bitterness, influences his followers to lose all sense of proportion and teaches them to answer hate with hate.
This is what I see as well, what many of us see. Politicians who peddle fear may win some votes from those who are fearful, but this tactic completely disqualifies you from being president of the United States of America. True leaders acknowledge real problems and don’t shy away from real challenges but a true leader will always seek to motivate us citizens to deal with our fears by finding our courage. True leaders will model hope and will lead all the rest of us toward a hopeful future.
My previous letters consider various ways that you and I interpret our shared Christian faith differently. On marriage equality. On immigration. On the separation of church and state. It disturbs me deeply that your version of Christianity demonstrates disdain instead of love, division instead of unity, self-centeredness instead compassion, self-righteousness instead of humility. This perversion of faith damages faith.
David Brooks even called you out on this. Remember the Michael Wayne Haley case you took to the Supreme Court in 2004 when you were Texas Solicitor General? Brooks says this is one example among many that reveals your true character.
“The Michael Wayne Haley case reveals something interesting about Cruz’s character. Ted Cruz is now running strongly among evangelical voters, especially in Iowa. But in his career and public presentation Ted Cruz is a stranger to most of what would generally be considered the Christian virtues: humility, mercy, compassion and grace. Cruz’s behavior in the Haley case is almost the dictionary definition of pharisaism: an overzealous application of the letter of the law in a way that violates the spirit of the law, as well as fairness and mercy.”
I agree. As a Christian minister, I have seen more than enough “pharisaism” in religion and it is always damaging. If you continue to insist that you are Christian, then it’s high time you started acting like one. It’s time for you to demonstrate some “humility, mercy, compassion and grace.”
These are not just Christian virtues; I would say they are values that are universal within the proper functioning of the human family. Evangelical Christians who applaud your violent rhetoric and your mean-spiritedness deny the very foundation of their faith. True faith is not primarily against (against abortion, against homosexuality, against plurality). True faith is always for (for life, for equity, for unity).
And if you continue to insist that you are a Conservative, then it’s also time to put that into practice. Brooks knows what he’s talking about here so I pay attention when he says:
“The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity.”
“Evangelicals and other conservatives have had their best influence on American politics when they have proceeded in a spirit of personalism — when they have answered hostility with service and emphasized the infinite dignity of each person. They have won elections as happy and hopeful warriors. Ted Cruz’s brutal, fear-driven, apocalypse-based approach is the antithesis of that.”
Senator Cruz, I beg you to return to the authentic roots of Conservatism and to the authentic practice of Christianity. If you continue your current course of fear mongering then I am convinced the fears you manufacture and exploit will eventually consume you.
Rev. Charlotte Vaughan Coyle
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequently shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.