(CNSNews.com) - Rev. Rafael Cruz, director of Purifying Fire Ministries and father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said the Christian church in America is under attack “more and more every day,” and noted that many pastors are afraid of losing their tax-exempt status if they speak out on political issues.
Cruz stressed, however, that “no church in America has ever lost it’s tax-exempt status for speaking on what’s happening in the country.”
Rev. Cruz made his comments on Thursday at the 2014 Watchmen on the Wall National Pastor’s Briefing, held by the Family Research Council May 21-23 in Washington, D.C.
Following his address to the attendees, CNSNews.com asked Rev. Cruz, “What do you think are some of the major problems facing the pastors in America today, and what would be your message to them?”
He said, “Well, I think the major challenge the pastors have is the pastors are afraid, and fear has come into the pastors because of lack of knowledge. And, you know, if the enemy can put fear into the hearts of the pastor, in essence the enemy accomplishes what he wants to do and that is to silence the pastors.”
“Many pastors are afraid of losing their tax-exempt status if they speak on what’s happening in our society today,” said Rev. Cruz. “But the reality is that no church in America has ever lost its tax-exempt status for speaking on what’s happening in the country. So, it is an empty threat. But never the less, it’s had the desired result – that is, to silence the pastors.”
Rev. Cruz further said, “But you know, we’re seeing the church under attack more and more every day. There is an attack on Christianity.”
“When children in school cannot, even in their free time, pray to their God, we have a problem with freedom of religion, which is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “And so, pastors need to speak out. Pastors need to be light to a society that is in darkness. And if the pastors should be the shepherds, they're supposed to be leading the sheep.”
“If the sheep don't have any shepherd that is leading them, they are lost,” said Rev. Cruz. “So there is a responsibility to the pastor to bring the light of the Gospel, the light of the truth of God to a world in darkness."
In his address at the Pastor’s Briefing, Rev. Cruz exhorted pastors to speak out on issues such as abortion and homosexual “marriage.”
“The question is how long are we going to remain silent,” said Rev. Cruz. “Will God hold us accountable for our silence?”
Rev. Cruz fought against the Communists in Cuba, was arrested there and tortured. He eventually fled the island in 1957 at age 18. He eventually settled in Texas and his Dallas-based church also operates Christian ministries in Mexico and Central America. His son, Ted Cruz, is the junior senator from Texas, a Republican, and the first Cuban-American to hold that office.