Dear Sen. Ted Cruz,
Your address announcing your candidacy for the presidency of the United States at Liberty University was filled with religious references to Jesus, salvation, the sanctity of human life and the sacrament of marriage. You also invoked God many times and in many ways: “God almighty,” “grace of God, “God’s providential blessing,” “God-given liberty,” etc.
This rhetorical preference was somewhat understandable given your audience of like-minded evangelical Christians.
Now, however, you are about to bring your ideas to millions of Americans who are not of your particular Protestant persuasion and who do not worship your God or any god at all.
We all want to consider your ideas and proposals as they relate to domestic and international policy changes, and to understand why you intend to dramatically reverse laws regarding abortion, gay marriage, education, health care, immigration and the environment.
To wit, Freethought Arizona suggests that because you are a highly skilled lawyer, you picture the American electorate as the judge and jury before whom you are speaking. To win your case and persuade us to vote for you, your arguments must be coherent and understood by all. The best way to do this is to use everyday language and reasoning. Leave out the religious jargon.
If you are going to argue, for example, to end legal abortion, don’t use terms such as “sanctity of life” or “soul.” If you are going to argue against gay marriage, don’t profess “sanctity” of marriage. And, when discussing climate change, don’t claim your “God has sovereignty” over our planet.
In fact, we think it best to leave God out of the discourse entirely. Your assertion, for example, that “God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation” is problematic, if not offensive to Native and African-Americans whose relatives were murdered and enslaved by those who were sure they were following your (and perhaps their) God’s directives.
Sen. Cruz, as tough as it might be, and with no disrespect meant, please omit your “Lord” and related religious references from politics and policies. Your God is not everyone’s god and additionally, nonbelievers would rightly admonish the lawyer to not “assume a fact not in evidence.” While an integral part of your personal life and the lives of millions of Americans, “God” is, by law, irrelevant to our nation’s governance. His conspicuous absence from the first words (“We the People [emphasis mine] of the United States…”) and from the remainder of our intentionally god-free Constitution, is evidence to support this assertion.
The Christian-code expressions you used in this speech such as “voting our values,” “we demand our liberty,” “God isn’t done with America yet” and, “it is a time for truth” imply you want our pluralistic society to conform to a particular Christian orthodoxy. Were you addressing only a select group in the jargon of religion-speak — a label justly applied to the vocabulary of any religion — or just not caring that your faith-based language and concepts are meaningless and frankly unintelligible to millions of Americans?
Political campaigning rightly takes place in the public square, not in the home or church. In a democracy, all facets of this undertaking must be accessible to everyone. No group deserves to be privileged over any other. So, please frame your positions and make your points in the everyday terms of our shared common experiences; base your claims on science not scripture; and, don’t insult the intelligence of your fellow Americans by claiming that “truth” is a gift uniquely bestowed to you and your religion.
When speaking to the public think reason, not revelation.
It bears repeating. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution — the framework for our government, laws and policies — they did not see the necessity to invoke their God or religion for its final language, design or implementation. As someone who desires to uphold that document as president, neither should you.