On Saturday, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz threw a “Rally for Religious Liberty” at Bob Jones University, inviting loads of anti-gay activists to South Carolina.
CNN reports that during his speech, Cruz argued that the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening were further evidence that Christians are under attack — despite the fact that the attacks took place at a myriad of nightlife hot spots and targeted no churches whatsoever.
Calling for a moment of silence, Cruz made a prayer about Islamic extremism:
“Right now as we speak, it is persecuting Christians. It is persecuting Jews. It’s even persecuting fellow Muslims. We ask for unity for the people of America, and we ask finally, that you bless this gathering in celebration of the liberty to worship you with all of our hearts, minds and souls.”
Many of the speakers honored by Cruz are some of America’s most notorious antigay activists: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (who called for parents to remove their children from public schools after a principal came out); Dick and Betty Odgaard, the dimly determined couple that refused to host a same-sex wedding at their chapel and launched an ambitious billboard campaign against marriage equality; and Texas Pastor David Welch, who claimed we’re all in the “presence of evil” during the botched HERO fight.
The event comes on the heels of last week’s National Religious Liberties Conference, in which Cruz joined two other GOP presidential candidates — Mike Huckabee and Gov. Bobby Jindal.
That event was organized by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who has said he unequivocally believes LGBTQ people should be put to death and just last week suggested he’d rather smear himself in feces than see his son marry another man.