Did Christians hound Ted Cruz off the stage? Not exactly. Here's what he said.
What happened? Toufic Baaklini, president of In Defense of Christians, accused the Texas Republican of grandstanding:
Cruz said in his remarks: “Today we are gathered at a time of extraordinary challenge. Tonight we are all united In Defense of Christians. Tonight we are all united In Defense of Jews.” His statement was immediately met with a full round of applause.
Yesterday, 17 Republican and Democratic Senators and Representatives addressed this same audience, referring to peace and unity with Muslims and Jews—themes expressed throughout the conference with the resounding support of those present.
“Senator Cruz was not ‘booed off stage’ last night,” Baaklini said. “He was asked to focus on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East under the theme of Religious Freedom and Human Dignity. Some participants inappropriately shouted, ‘Talk about the Christians!’ when Cruz refused to do so. Sadly, there was a small but vocal anti-Israel element in the room. Those individuals do not represent the views of IDC. In fact, there were many more people shouting down the hecklers than there were hecklers.
Sen. Cruz disagreed. In a press release, the senator said he stood up on principal for the Jewish people in Israel and elsewhere:
They cannot shout down the truth. And we should not shy away from expressing the truth, even in the face of – especially in the face of – ignorance and bigotry.
I told the attendees that those who hate Israel also hate America, that those who hate Jews also hate Christians, and that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ.
These statements were met with angry boos. I went on to tell the crowd that Christians in the Middle East have no better friend than Israel. That Christians can practice their faith free of persecution in Israel. And that ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, along with their state sponsors in Syria and Iran, are all part of the same cancer, murdering Christians and Jews.
Mark Stricherz is based in Washington. He is author of Why the Democrats are Blue.