Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee all came Sunday to Prestonwood Baptist Church, to prove their Christian bonafides and to campaign for the hearts and votes of evangelicals.
Cruz, was a crowd favorite at Prestonwood, earning repeated standing ovations for his unbending stances and definitive declaration that “Religious liberty is under threat as never before in this country.” They cheered when he also vowed he would “not surrender” on gay marriage and listened intently as he recounted his legal fights over religion as Texas solicitor general.
“My goodness, you know how to fire people up,” remarked Jack Graham, Prestonwood’s pastor, after Cruz finished. “You could be a preacher.”
Cruz replied, “It’s even worse, I’m a PK. ”
“A preacher’s kid,” Graham said knowingly, and adding, “The Lord seems to be elevating you and giving you favor with people and you’re certainly, here in Texas, you’re back home and we’re really glad that you are.”
The differences were more stylistic than substantive. Cruz and Huckabee walked round the stage, while Bush opted to stick with the podium. Many spoke about adding more Christian values in public policy, but Fiorina and Carson spoke more about faith in their own lives.
Carson in particular retold his own faith journey and how he ended up as one of the world’s most renowned brain surgeons. Carson said he achieved his greatness when he decided, “God, you be the neurosurgeon; I’ll be the hands.”
Bush, who was last to speak and joked about how his driver broke innumerable traffic laws while whisking him straight from the airport. When asked what people should pray for him about, he said wisdom.
“It’s an arduous journey,” he said about running for president, “in that you can get sucked in the vortex.”