(CNSNews.com) – At a “Defeat Jihad Summit” hosted by the Center for Security Policy, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted Wednesday that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, did not travel to New York launch a terrorist attack on “The Book of Mormon."
“Right now on Broadway, a play is showing, the Book of Mormon, that is ridiculing and making fun of the Mormon faith," said Cruz. "Last I checked, Mitt Romney didn’t show up on Broadway trying to blow up the stage."
"It is not a permissible response for anyone of any faith to say if you disagree with or if you criticize or even if you make fun of my faith, I will murder you," said Cruz. "No one of any faith has right to make that statement.”
Cruz was countering what he said was President Barack Obama's suggestion in his National Prayer Breakfast speech last week that the terrorists who killed journalists at the Charlie Hebdo office in France had a “legitimate grievance” because the magazine published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Another component of the president’s remarks was that he talked about free speech and freedom of religion are intertwined, and he said you cannot have one without the other, and when someone exercises their free speech to criticize the faith of another, we should all condemn it. I found that a rather stunning assault on free speech from the president,” Cruz said.
“It got very little press attention, because less it be lost on anybody, what the president was saying is that Charlie was wrong to put a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on their magazine, and implicitly, what that’s saying is the terrorists who murdered those journalists had a legitimate grievance. That is wrong. That is pernicious,” Cruz added.
In his speech, Obama said: “There’s wisdom in our founders writing in those documents that helped found this nation the notion of freedom of religion, because they understood the need for humility. They also understood the need to uphold freedom of speech, that there was a connection between freedom of speech and freedom of religion, for to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.
“But part of humility is also recognizing in modern, complicated, diverse societies, the functioning of these rights. The concern for the protection of these rights calls for each of us to exercise civility and restraint and judgment,” the president said.
“And if, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are the targets of such attacks,” Obama said.
“Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t question those who would insult others in the name of free speech, because we know that our nations are stronger when people of all faiths feel that they are welcome, that they, too, are full and equal members of our countries. So humility I think is needed,” Obama added.
Cruz also noted that no one tried to murder artist Andres Serrano for creating, “Piss Christ,” a photo of a Crucifix submerged in urine.
“And I would note criticism and even ridicule of faith is not limited to any particular faith. I am a Christian. Some time ago, there was news of an artist who had submerged a Crucifix in a vat of urine. It was pleasantly entitled Piss Christ. Let me tell you, that is offensive, and yet no one would have sought to murder the artist for insulting or ridiculing my faith,” Cruz said.
In an April 18, 2011 article, Reuters reported that the photograph was vandalized while on display at a museum in France, and vandals physically threatened Lambert Gallery museum guards before fleeing.
"Several people have called saying, 'If you open, you're dead,'" Reuters quoted one museum worker as saying. "We're nervous and we have asked for protection from the police."
The magazine Complex reported that Serrano received death threats and hate mail for years following the unveiling of “Piss Christ.”