This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah County Republican Party has provided entertaining fodder in the past and, I have to say, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
The county party boasts on its website that the keynote speaker for this year's Lincoln Day Dinner will be Rafael Cruz, father of tea party presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
What's interesting about this choice is that if you take his recent comments to their logical conclusion, he believes the LDS Church is "wicked" and "promoting ungodliness."
In a conference call with Christian minister and conservative political commentator E.W. Jackson, reported by David Edwards, an editor of the online news publication The Raw Story, Rafael Cruz said that banning discrimination against transgender people would mean that football teams could "shower with the girls."
Cruz, a Christian pastor who has been stumping for his son, criticized a Houston nondiscrimination ordinance that he called a direct attack on "the church."
He said the ordinance "allows men to walk into women's bathrooms" and "even would allow kids to make football teams to go shower with the girls."
If conservative Christians did not vote or run for office, then America would just have "the wicked electing the wicked," Cruz said, adding that good Christians must stand against "all the ungodliness that is being promoted throughout our government."
Cruz made these comments Tuesday, the same day leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a news conference to give the faith's blessing for legislation that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination.
"We call on local, state and the federal government to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups," LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks said, "while also protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation in hotels, restaurants and transportation."
It's hard not to conclude that, according to Rafael Cruz's rhetoric, the last part of Oaks' comment promotes wickedness and ungodliness.
Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, who has sponsored statewide nondiscrimination legislation several times and now has his best chance of seeing it pass, has seen this claptrap before.
"When you don't have a legitimate argument," Urquhart said, "you use children as your shields and swords."
He said the bill simply protects people from being discriminated against in their jobs or in applications for housing based on who they are. The shower hyperbole is a worn-out scare tactic.
Utah County Republican Chairman Casey Voeks said he expects Rafael Cruz's talk at the Feb. 21 fundraiser to focus on his days as a freedom fighter in Cuba. He noted the event's other featured speaker is Tim Ballard, of Operation Underground Railroad, which works to break up human trafficking and the sex-slave industry.
As for Cruz's controversial comments that seem to contradict what Mormon leaders preach, Voeks said, "You know, the more high-profile speakers you bring in, the more you roll the dice."
No room at the inn • Rafael Cruz, during a sermon at a church in Irving, Texas, in 2012, seemed to take on another Mormon icon.
He indicated, as reported by Bruce Wilson in the online publication Alternet, that son Ted was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as "kings" to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the "Seven Mountains" mandate.
Sorry, Mitt. There's only so much space on that "white horse."