Rafael Cruz, the father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, is joining David Barton in spreading blatant mistruths about San Antonio’s revised Nondiscrimination Ordinance. That ordinance now bars discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Barton told hundreds of pastors gathered in Austin earlier this month that the ordinance bars anyone who criticizes homosexuality and same-sex marriage from serving on the San Antonio City Council. That is an outright falsehood.
But now Cruz claims that the ordinance allows pastors to be fined for criticizing homosexuality. Our friends at Right Wing Watch quote Cruz speaking on a conference call last week for the right-wing group Tea Party Unity:
“All we have to do is turn on the news and every day we see more and more encroachment upon pastors from this administration. All they have to do is be aware of what’s happening around us and to be aware, for example, that in the city of San Antonio, if a pastor speaks on Romans 1, he could be even fined $500 a day until he retracts what he said.”
As Right Wing Watch points out, some interpret Romans 1 as a condemnation of homosexuality.
Rick Scarborough, the East Texas pastor who founded Tea Party Unity, joined Cruz on the call in trying to scare pastors. Scarborough claimed that the “lesbian mayor of Houston” will impose a similar “sanctions [on pastors] if they preach the Bible.”
First, the San Antonio ordinance in no way bars pastors from preaching against homosexuality. The claim that they would be fined for doing so is false. Moreover, Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed new Equal Rights Ordinance in Houston, which also includes nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people as well as others, includes no such penalties for pastors who preach against homosexuality.
Cruz, Scarborough and Barton, along with other religious-righters, are simply making stuff up in a fear-mongering, misinformation campaign – a campaign that is as unsurprising (coming from them) as it is repugnant.