Rafael Cruz is busy stumping for his son Ted, and it’s not your usual qualifications for the job he is pushing, but rather a divine qualification. Rafael is claiming that only his son can stave off America’s destruction at the hands of God, comparing him to Josiah, the King of Judah, who really put the persecution into religious intolerance.
As PFAW’s Brian Tashman explains, “On Friday, Sandy Rios spoke with Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at the National Religious Broadcasters convention.” What he said should terrify every freedom-loving American.
Listen courtesy of People for the American Way:
According to Rafael Cruz:
“America has been just declining so much that you could say that, perhaps, there is judgment for America. But you know, look at the example of Josiah, King Josiah, in the Old Testament. The people of Israel, where judgment was imminent, because a godly man, a man that brought the people back to the law – and what just happened is judgment was deferred, and so it restored confidence in the people.
“All we need is a leader that will take us back to the Judeo-Christian principles, to the rock-solid principles of the Constitution, that will make America again that exceptional country that will take us back to where there’s freedom, there is opportunity, there is the ability for any American with hard work and perseverance to achieve any of their dreams.”
As Rios concluded, “if we should make the right choice in this particular race…God could defer judgment.” What kind of choice? “We don’t need a deal-maker,” said Rafael. Spokesmen for God don’t make deals after all. They dictate, we obey.
Josiah is not a role model the Founding Fathers would have chosen, and this is exactly the fate the Founding Fathers were hoping to spare future Americans. It is critical voters understand the code Rafael is using that evangelicals will certainly understand and take to heart.
In 622 or 621 BCE King Josiah ordered a reconstruction of the Temple and his priests found a text which “revealed the traditional practice of the cult of YHWH in Judah had been wrong.” This was the excuse needed to wipe out once and for all those pesky ancient, traditional (and polytheistic) tendencies of the Jewish people.
As archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman tell us, “in order to effect a thorough cleansing of the cult of YHWH Josiah launched the most intense puritan reform in the history of Judah. His first targets were the idolatrous rites being practiced in Jerusalem, even within the temple itself.”
These included the worship of evangelical bogeyman Baal and the goddess Asherah, according to 2 Kings 23:4-7 and traditional hilltop religious sites, the “high places” (2 Kings 23:8):
“And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
“And he broke in pieces the pillars, and cut down the Asherim, and filled their place with the bones of men” (2 Kings 23:10-14).
It is critical that Americans understand the context of Rafael’s use of Josiah: Jewish scholar Moshe Weinfeld rightly pointed out that the events of 622/621 led to a “profound transmutation” of the Jewish religious landscape, that a “cultic religion had been transformed into a religion of a book.” And, he reminds us that the events of 622/621 were the very basis for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The result of Josiah’s revolution was the creation of an entirely new religion, something never seen before. The paschal sacrifice lost its magical/animistic elements and was turned into a communal sacrifice based on the Jerusalem Temple instead of “the high places” and regional temples. The Pagan harvest festival (the feast of unleavened bread) lost its rural, Pagan-style focus and was also directed towards the central Temple.
You see where this is going, of course.
So tell me after you read this if you really want another Josiah, the man Rafael Cruz blithely describes as the “man that brought the people back to the law”:
He [Josiah] executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them…Josiah also exterminated the mediums and psychics, the household gods, and every other kind of idol worship, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah…Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since. (2 Kings 23:20-25)
Until King Cruz?
God, in the book of Deuteronomy, demands genocide:
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock
And the key to Cruz’s special standing as a messiah and a new Josiah:
Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation…The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19)
Again it is critical Americans understand the context of Rafael’s use of Josiah, who executed priests, psychics and entire cities to obtain mercy. It will be like cauterizing a wound to save the patient and in this scheme, it is “the other” (Muslims, gays, atheists, etc) who will burn so that a “Godly” America might live.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.