Donald Trump dominates the headlines as a result of his lead in national polls, despite (or perhaps because of) saying outlandish, crazy things at every turn. He appeals to the worst, and most visceral, reactions of a base that is losing its place in an America they are afraid of. It's clear to anyone who understands anything about defense, immigration, economics or foreign policy that he has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. There is general consensuses among people actually do understand these issues that he would be a completely incompetent President, and his administration would be a disaster of governance.
And yet, he only scares me a fraction as much as Ted Cruz does. Especially after his win last night in Iowa.
Ted Cruz has made no secret of his desire to win on a surge of Evangelical Christian voting. Indeed, his father (Rafael Cruz) is an ardent Dominionist. Dominionism is an ideology that seeks to implement a nation governed by conservative Christians with a legal system based on biblical law. There is every indication that Ted Cruz is also a dominionist, including his recent statement that, "I'm a Christian first, American second."
His brand of Christianity is one which looks at God as damning 99 percent of all humans to eternal torture, and sees this as completely fair and merciful. There is no room for interpretation or nuance; only obey or burn. Those are the rules of God, and all of them must be taken literally and en toto.
Similarly, Cruz's approach to politics has followed the same philosophy: I'm right, if you don't do exactly as I say you're wrong and l will burn you and everything you hold dear to the ground if you do not comply. It is how he approached the 2013 government shut down, and it is how he has alienated almost every one of his House and Senate colleagues. Even his family looks put off by him.
But this isn't the really terrifying part.
Like Marco Rubio, Cruz would work to set back LGBT rights. Unlike Rubio however, Cruz would be much more likely to blow off people telling him not to go too far. Take "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," for instance. Ted Cruz hinted he would bring it back, even though inside the Pentagon the idea of bringing it back elicits groans. Cruz claims he would listen to his leaders, but neglects to mention that all 4 star generals and admirals are all appointed by the President.
Imagine a military run by dominionist officers who believe American exceptionalism is ordained by God, and that Christianity can (and should) be spread through superior firepower. That's scary as hell.
But this still isn't the scariest thing.
The Supreme Court only needs to add two more Antonin Scalias to allow laws favoring Christianity as a state religion to get through on a 5-4 vote. No more marriage equality. No more right to privacy for LGBT people, either. But say hello to laws banning consensual relations between same sex adults returning, as long as he finds a couple willing to ignore stare decisis. Which shouldn't be too hard, given he has surrounded himself with people who believe God's law trumps everything.
Here's where this turns to a nightmare straight from the darkest days of humanity. Because we already have one Supreme Court justice who has hinted that he agrees with the decision (Korematsu) which allowed the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII.
So let's step back for a moment and consider what a Christian Nation with Christian Laws based on a strict literalist interpretation of the Bible would mean for LGBT people. According to Phil Robertson while introducing Ted Cruz at a rally, "We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there." At the National Religious Liberties Conference pastor Kevin Swanson Swanson, reiterated his view that homosexuality should be punished by death in the US just before Cruz joined him on stage. Swanson has endorsed Cruz, along with several other Evangelical leaders calling for the systematic execution of gays.
One might argue that surely Ted Cruz doesn't really believe that gays should be put to death in America, despite his desire for a system of law based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, and belief in a God who shows no leniency. Actually yes, Cruz dropped a big hint several months ago that this is exactly what he believes.
When a reporter questioned Cruz about his stances on LGBT issues, Cruz shot back, "I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights. Well, you know. ISIS is executing homosexuals. You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS..."
The implication here is that until Christians in America are throwing gay people off of buildings and crushing the heads of those who survive with rocks, LGBT people need to quit whining. Embedded in this is the notion that LGBT people should be grateful that Christians aren't doing this to us, because it's what we would deserve under a just, "Christian" legal system.
It also fits Cruz's personality to be able define himself as a good, more merciful than we deserve, loving man of God by allowing LGBT people to exist.
Setting the bar for what is good and merciful this low is terrifying. Sort of like defining being a good parent as "not murdering your children in cold blood before they turn 18." What's even more terrifying is that if Donald Trump loses his lead, polling suggests Cruz picks up almost most of the Trump votes, and win the primaries. It would then be in a dead heat in the general against Hillary.
Hope all my queer friends out there have their passports updated.