WASHINGTON, DC — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz believes that a majority of violent criminals are Democrats, and that there’s a “war on cops” leading to increased crime rates across the country. Black Lives Matter activists are demanding that presidential candidates address racial inequality and discrimination. On Wednesday, a Cruz-endorsed minister famous in extreme right-wing circles offered a glimpse into how President Cruz might tackle those issues by steering people toward churches and private sector groups to restore cultural and sexual morality to inner cities.
Buddy Pilgrim, Cruz’s national director for faith and religious liberty, endorsed Christian minister and former Tea Party politician E.W. Jackson Sr. on Wednesday, promising Cruz’s support for Jackson’s plan to “rescue America’s inner cities” from the “new epidemic of black on black violence and murder.”
“This is exactly the kind of initiative that is needed for this country to help resolve the problems in the inner city and throughout our country,” Pilgrim said. “I know that if Senator Cruz were to become president of this country… he’d work with Bishop Jackson and other ministers like you to help create an environment where these kind of faith and business sector solutions can be implemented.”
Jackson said he reached out to all of the Republican candidates to support his proposals, but only Cruz has expressed interest in his “recovery plan.”
“We are looking for presidential leadership that shows that it cares about what’s going on in the inner cities and is going to do something about it,” Jackson, the former GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, said during a press conference. “We reached out to every candidate that we could. Only one has expressed interest, support, and enthusiasm for doing something about this problem. He has a representative here today. That candidate is Senator Ted Cruz.”
In a document outlining his plan, Jackson detailed how exactly he would rescue America’s cities. Part of his plan includes sending children who live in “dysfunctional homes” to boarding schools. He claims that “the single greatest predictor of poverty is not race but the lack of a father in the home,” and that the country needs to address “sexual morality” because “a whole host of problems in our cities can be traced to single parent families.” Research actually shows that in cities with a large number of single mothers, families with both parents experience the same level of low upward mobility as single-mother households.
Jackson’s plan also blames pop culture for creating a culture that devalues life and women. “In a world where Beyoncé shakes her ‘bootie’ and Miley twerks, it is difficult to imagine a culture of sexual responsibility, let alone abstinence,” his document says.
The recovery plan, titled “Project Awakening,” argues that young people’s sexual responsibility is also tied to their family structure.
“Young ladies need help to break the pattern of sexual exploitation that reeks [sic] havoc on their lives,” it says. “Ultimately, the absence of a caring father causes girls to go looking for love in all the wrong places.”
CREDIT: Kira Lerner
Jackson and Cruz share the belief that the media and the Black Lives Matter movement have irresponsibly shifted the focus to violence by law enforcement from what they claim is the bigger threat. Cruz claims the movement is “literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers,” and Jackson says that “for every black person who is killed by a police officer, seventy are killed by someone in their own neighborhood.”
Many of the pastors who stood alongside Jackson, also members of his group, Staying True To America’s National Destiny (STAND), repeated the claim that the murder of black babies in abortion clinics is worse than any violence perpetrated by police.
This is not the first time the Cruz campaign has endorsed the far-right policies of Jackson and his organization. Earlier this month, Cruz participated in a teleconference hosted by Jackson and answered a question posed by a fringe anti-gay leader about the “gay agenda.” Cruz responded by calling the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage “one of the greatest threats to our democracy we had seen in modern times.” Cruz went on to criticize President Obama for being “more interested in promoting homosexuality in the military than he is in defeating our enemy.”