In a surprising turn of events, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz invoked the Bible and quoted verses to defend LGBTQ+ communities, marking a departure from his typically conservative stance on gay rights. The unexpected exchange took place on Twitter in response to a Florida pastor's controversial statement.
Pastor Tom Ascol—who delivered the invocation at Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' second inauguration—had tweeted a Bible verse suggesting that every gay man should be put to death.
His tweet served as a respond to Cruz's criticism of Uganda's draconian anti-LGBTQ+ law, which imposes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality."
Ascol cited a King James interpretation of an Old Testament verse from Leviticus 20:13:
"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
You can see Ascol's tweet below.
Cruz—who has a bisexual daughter—swiftly responded, challenging the pastor's interpretation by stating:
"Your biblical analysis is in error."
Rather than endorse the pastor's view, Cruz cited a different Bible verse to support his argument and criticized Ascol's stance:
"Jesus told us to 'render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. We are talking the laws of man, not the Old Testament laws of God."
"Do you really believe that the US govt should execute every person who is gay??"
You can see Cruz's tweet below.
Cruz later followed up with more Bible verses to condemn Ascol's defense of the Ugandan law, writing:
"2/x Leviticus also tells us: 'For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.'"
"Should the govt execute every child who’s disrespectful to his parents?"
"That ignores Grace & the New Testament. As our Savior taught us, 'Let he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
You can see Cruz's tweet below.
Cruz's defense of the LGBTQ+ community through biblical arguments marks a notable shift in his position on gay rights.
Cruz has been known for his conservative views in the past, and his engagement in this Twitter exchange reflects a willingness to challenge extreme interpretations of religious texts.
While Cruz's stance on LGBTQ+ issues may still be a topic of discussion and scrutiny, his use of biblical verses to support equality and reject harmful interpretations has sparked conversation among both his supporters and critics.
This is not the first time Ascol has expressed extreme views.
He has previously stated that women who have abortions should be imprisoned for murder.
Ascol was also involved in authoring The Dallas Statement, which denounced same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage as against "God's design." The statement rejected the acceptance of LGBTQ+ Christians and dismissed gender fluidity, intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory as inconsistent with biblical teachings.
The condemnation of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act has exposed divisions within religious conservative circles. While some religious conservatives, like Ascol, have praised such laws, others vehemently oppose them.