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Cruz Responds to Terrorists Attacks with Prayer, Advice for Obama


GREENVILLE, S.C. — Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had some harsh words for the Obama administration in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

"We need a commander in chief wiling to utter the words radical Islamic terrorism," Cruz told reporters covering a religious liberty rally sponsored by the senator in Greenville, South Carolina, Saturday afternoon.

"Because it is the Islamists who embrace this extreme political and theological philosophy that they will murder or try to forcibly convert anyone that doesn't share their extreme view of Islam," he said.

Before the event, he spoke with reporters about the Obama administration and what he called "an antipathy" the President has for Christians.

"The beauty of the First Amendment is it protects religious liberty across the board. It protects Christians, it protects Jews, it protects Muslims, it protects anyone who is engaged in peaceful exercise of their faith," Cruz said.

"Christians are under assault from this administration…. President Obama is fond of using the phrase  'freedom to worship.'  That by the way is not what the First Amendment says. What he means by that, when President Obama says 'freedom to worship' is that you can go between 11am-12noon on Sunday in your church service and say whatever you want, but at 12:01 whenever you walk out those doors, you have no right to live according to your faith."

Click here to watch more of Cruz's speech with Jennifer Wishon in Richmond.

Prayers for the Victims

Cruz entered the back of the auditorium at Bob Jones University to cheers, whistles and people waving banners with his name on them. As he made his way to the stage, he stopped to shake hands with supporters and thank them for coming.

After walking on stage and facing the crowd of 2,000, he paused for a moment of silence in memory of the 129 people killed Friday in Paris. And then he said a prayer.

"We lift up the families of those who have been murdered, of those who have been wounded and those who are hurting… We ask that our leaders understand this is not some random, ill-defined, random extremism.  This evil - radical Islamic terrorism - needs to be called out for what it is, and it needs to be defeated."

He continued, "Father God, we ask that the leaders across the world possess the clarity and strength of Winston Churchill in 1938, in the face of Munich, in the face of appeasement.  Clarity to understand this is an evil that will not quietly slink away.  This is a malevolent force that right now as we speak is persecuting Christians, is persecuting Jews, is even persecuting fellow Muslims.  Is beheading them.  Is crucifying Christians right now... This is an evil that must be confronted."

Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, pastor and the father of Senator Ted Cruz, talks about how he knew that Ted would be in an important position.

Defending Religious Liberties

The rally featured people who'd been attacked for their faith like high school football coach Joe Kennedy. Kennedy is the football coach from Bremerton, Wa. who was suspended for praying on the 50-yard line after games. 

School administrators told him he had a right to pray, but he said they basically stated, 'But we don't want anybody to see you doing it.  We want you to go and hide.'  Like I should be ashamed of what my beliefs are and who I am as an American," Joe Kennedy said.

The Odgaards of Des Moines shared their story too. They lost their business for refusing gay weddings and have faced a flood of hateful accusations.

"Overnight we became the most hateful, bigoted, racist and words I can't even use," said Betty Odgaard.  "It was devastating and it was hard to live through."

Her husband agreed. "We responded according to our faith and that faith is marriage is between one man and one woman," said Dick Odgaard.

Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council, called these attacks the new McCarthyism.  "You are driven from your job, you are alienated, you're marginalized and you're treated as if you're some kind of throwback," said Perkins.

Be sure to watch The 700 Club Monday when Paul Strand brings you a more in-depth look at the presidential contenders who visited South Carolina this weekend.

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