The Deceit of Ted Cruz (and the Republican Party)

by John Ellis

Ted Cruz is either a liar or an idiot. That’s a bold accusation, I realize, but I believe, as demonstrated below, that the charge is justified.

Normally, I pay as little attention as possible to Ted Cruz. I also haven’t been paying close attention to the confirmation hearings for President Biden’s SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. I don’t generally pay attention to Cruz because his connection to evangelicalism, not to mention Christian nationalism, means that his antics bother me on very real levels. What he does and says creates negative ripples among many of the people I know, with consequences that further demonstrate how far removed from worshipping King Jesus white evangelicalism is. My lack of attention to the confirmation hearings, though, is more about time constraints than avoiding possible irritation and stress (which, to be honest, is part of it, too). Her confirmation seems like a fait accompli anyway.[1] I have books to read and the end of the NBA regular season to keep up with. Except, I couldn’t help but have my curiosity piqued when I saw picture of Ted Cruz holding up a copy of the book Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi at Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearing.

About halfway through his time questioning Judge Jackson, Senator Cruz pulls out two books: Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. The specific reason why my interest was piqued is because I own a copy (and have read) Stamped (For Kids); I wanted to hear what Senator Cruz had to say about what I believe is a very edifying and well-written children’s book.

The article that I clicked on was quick to take Senator Cruz to task. An op-ed piece about how shameful it was for the Senator to insert his anti-CRT beliefs into the confirmation hearings, the writer quoted Ted Cruz. For his part, Senator Cruz brought up the books because they are apparently on the reading list at Georgetown Day School, the D.C. private school whose board Judge Jackson serves on. In his concern over Judge Jackson’s perceived embrace of CRT, Senator Cruz had several things to say about both books, but for the sake of my accusation, I am going to focus on one pull-quote the Senator read from Stamped (For Kids).

After holding the book up in the air, Senator Cruz tells Judge Jackson, “I read the entirety of the book, and I will say it is an astonishing book. On page 33 it asks the question, “Can we send white people back to Europe?” That’s on 33, that’s what’s being given to eight and nine years old.”

You can find that moment just a few seconds after I queued up the video below (in case I messed the queue up, it can be found around the 15:15 mark). I include the video so that you can watch it for yourself and confirm that I am not taking him out of context. After I read the quote, I thought, “I don’t remember that being pushed or even hinted at in the book.” And by “that,” I mean the obvious intention of Senator Cruz in saying that this book written for children is literally teaching that the question of sending white people back to Europe should be asked. Watch the video; confirm that I’m not taking his words out of context, nor am I misrepresenting him. The same thing can’t be said for Senator Cruz, though.

Below, I’ve included a picture of the page Senator Cruz reads from. It is obvious from reading it that the authors are not even slightly alluding that the solution for racism might be found in sending white people back to Europe. The quote, which comes at the end of a “pause” in the book is asking the reader to think what Black people and Native Americans in the early 19th century might have been thinking as the plan to relocate them to countries they had never set foot in gained steam. Reynolds and Kendi are pointing out the (racist) absurdity of Thomas Jefferson’s (and many others) plan to solve the problem of slavery by sending Black people to Africa. On the page prior to the one containing the line Senator Cruz read, the authors explain, “But Black people didn’t want to ‘go back’ to a place that many had never known. Their ancestors had been captured from Africa and brought to North America, where generations of Black people were born. They’d built America as enslaved people and wanted what they were owed. Freedom in the country they’d built. America was now their land.”[2]

There is literally – and if you know me well, you are aware that I do not use the word “literally” lightly – there is literally nothing historically inaccurate with the facts the authors present. Beginning in the very early years of the 19th century, many people, including Thomas Jefferson, wanted to ship Black people “back” to Africa. That’s true. And it’s also true that by the 19th century, the majority of enslaved Blacks in this country had never been to Africa. It’s not a stretch, at all, to see the validity of Reynolds and Kendi’s hypothetical question that Senator Cruz deceitfully ripped out context.

While I’m largely limiting myself to one specific quote from the book because it’s the moment in Senator Cruz’s questions/comments that speaks directly to my thesis that he is either a liar or an idiot, I do want to mention that the rest of Senator Cruz’ diatribe about the book is an argument that should be rejected by followers of King Jesus (I can’t comment on Antiracist Baby because I’ve never read it). Of all people, followers of King Jesus should be pained by sin and sin’s consequences and should be at the front of the line to make restitution in attempts to undermine and reverse sin’s consequences. To help prevent me from delving more into that in this article, I have an offer: If you consider yourself to be anti-CRT and know me (as in, have met me), I will buy you a copy of Stamped (For Kids). If you know me, I’m assuming that you either have my phone number or email, or are my friend on Facebook. Reach out. I’ll buy you the book so that you can see for yourself that it is not a scary book, nor is it teaching lies nor ungodly ideologies.

However, my offer aside, whether you agree with me about the validity of the book’s overall arguments and ideology, it’s an incontrovertible fact that Ted Cruz lied about the book. Well, maybe not “incontrovertible” because another possibility is that Senator Cruz lacks the cognitive abilities needed to correctly interpret a book written for “eight and nine years old” kids. Hence, my accusation that Ted Cruz is either a liar or an idiot. Which one? You pick.

Note that, in no uncertain terms, Senator Cruz told Judge Jackson that he had read the book. Any attempt to pin this on a staffer handing him the book with the quotes marked, meaning he wasn’t aware of the context, still ends in Senator Cruz lying.

I think it’s safe to say that Senator Cruz isn’t an idiot, leaving the other option. The evidence is right in front of you. Extending this out, Senator Cruz’s comments (lies) are reflective of the deceitful rhetoric coming out of the Republican Party, especially pertaining to racism and CRT. Their lack of integrity in pursuit of power and their own comfort is shameful. It’s way past time (because it never should have happened in the first place) for followers of King Jesus to disavow the Republican Party and to stop sullying the name of Jesus by forcing an aberrant and unholy relationship between the GOP and Christianity. The Republican Party are not friends of the Kingdom. Their sole allegiance is to this kingdom.

Soli Deo Gloria

[1] For the record, and I don’t want there to be any confusion on this point, if I had a vote, I would not vote to confirm Judge Jackson. As I’ve said before, I do not believe that Kingdom ethics allow for followers of King Jesus to engage in a compromise/pragmatism that leads to promoting or voting for leaders who support abortion. Again, so as to remove any possible misunderstanding, I do not want Judge Jackson as a Justice on the Supreme Court because of her stance on Roe v. Wade (and abortion, in general).

[2] Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2021), 32.

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