Meet Ted Cruz's Wack Pack

When Sarah "No More Pussyfooting Around" Palin awkwardly endorsed famous toupee-wearer Donald Trump at an Iowa rally earlier this month, Saturday Night Live writers and late-show monologue scribes rejoiced over this gift from the Golden Calf and other false prophets those people pray to. Less heralded is the grotesque coterie of freaks who have given their blessings to part-time Canadian Ted Cruz — we're talking about a group of folks who make Palin look downright reasonable. 

Cruz has welcomed all of these endorsements, no matter how dubious, and we thought it was worth pointing out what kind of people are looking at this question mark of a candidate and saying, "Yes! That guy." 

MIKE BICKLE

In 1999, this Kansas City evangelical founded the International House of Prayer, also known as IHOP ("Waffle House of Jehova" was already taken), and has been spreading the good word ever since. He emceed fellow Cruz supporter Rick Perry's prayer rally in Houston in 2011, telling the then-Reliant Stadium crowd that Jesus "defines marriage," and gay ain't in His dictionary.  As you might expect, Bickle equates homosexuality with sin, although we wouldn't blame newcomers for getting a mixed message — after all, Bickle talks about being a "bride of Christ." No way Kim Davis would stamp that marriage license. Bickle also warns that practicing homosexuals will be targeted by "flaming missiles" (of course they're flaming) of "The Evil One."

Bickle is as good at identifying future commanders-in-chief as he is Whores of Babylon: Bickle believes Oprah Winfrey is the forerunner of the "Harlot Movement," paving the way for the Anti-Christ. How will true believers be able to spot the harlots? Here's how, per Bickle: "They will feed the poor, have humanitarian projects, inspire acts of compassion — all for the wrong reasons." 

Most famously, Bickle raised eyebrows when he implied that Adolf Hitler was dispatched by God to hunt Jews, as stated in the Book of Jeremiah. We'd have loved to listen in on that phone call. Some groups believe this means Bickle is an anti-Semite, which is unfair, because he was just quoting God. The relevant passage also states, per Bickle, that two-thirds of the world's Jews "will die in the rage of Satan," and the remaining will become brides of Christ, but not in a gay way. Ostensibly, they will also Vote Cruz. 

TROY NEWMAN

You might know Newman as a board member of the Center for Medical Progress, the shell organization behind the bogus Planned Parenthood fetal-tissue-selling brouhaha. But he's probably better known for heading Operation Rescue, the anti-choice group that campaigned against physician George Tiller, who was shot to death while ushering at his church in 2009. Newman publicly denounced the act, but he's suggested that such acts might be legally defensible: When Paul Hill was executed in 2003 for killing a doctor and his escort, Newman lamented the fact that Hill was not allowed to argue at trial that killing those folks "was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day."

First of all, we have to give props to "pre-born babies," which is one of the best rebrandings since "pre-owned cars." (If only the former came with similar dealer warranties. But we digress.) However, we feel that Newman's hypothetical is a slippery slope into one of those time-travel wormholes — what if the doctor Hill killed were actually aborting a pre-born pre-killer of another doctor? What if the doctor were aborting a future Oprah Winfrey, thus pre-venting the rise of the Harlot Movement? And what about the flux capacitor? 

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards has accused Newman of  supporting violent means to justify the ends — Operation Rescue's senior vice president, Cheryl Sullenger, was convicted in 1988 of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic — which Newman has vigorously denied. But Newman and Sullenger seem to support the government killing abortion providers, as explained in the 2003 book Their Blood Cries Out, which suggests that "convicted murders, including abortionists" should be executed "in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people." 

It's awesome reading — we also suggest the duo's 2014 page-turner Abortion Free, in which Newman writes of cranking up Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" at full volume in Operation Rescue's office whenever an abortion clinic closes. It's a vastly overrated track — we much prefer "Fat Bottomed Girls" — but we're sure Newman and Sullenger high-five each other when it gets to the part about machine guns and bullets. 

REV. PHILLIP "FLIP" BENHAM

Benham is the former director of the North Carolina-based Operation Save America, not to be confused with Troy Newman's Operation Rescue, or the Disney classic Operation Dumbo Drop, and he experienced a hiccup in his professional duties when a jury found him guilty of stalking an abortion provider in 2011. 

The Flipper had distributed hundreds of "wanted" flyers with names and photos of various doctors, with the phrase "Wanted...By Christ, to Stop Killing Babies," but he was only convicted in relation to one of the named doctors. He was sentenced to 18 months probation.

In 2012, The Flipmeister demonstrated outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, resulting in this awesome video that is notable for two reasons: One, it shows hot lesbians smooching. Two, it shows Benham telling interviewer Fiona Dawson how he won't chase after a "pretty skirt," even though he's not as interested in his wife as he used to be, while the gays "can have sex with anything that's warm." We just like the phrasing — we are absolutely, positively, not drawing any conclusions about Benham's sexual desires. 

Like other homophobic preachers, Flipcup seems to know a lot about what turns homosexuals on. He tells Dawson how gays have to continually increase the level of kink, to the point where they're "drinking blood and eating flesh" and "involving people in snuff films." We were actually getting a bit aroused at that point, but then he said the words "my own orgasm," and we totally went limp.

TONY PERKINS

The head of the Washington, D.C., lobby group Family Research Council and a former Louisiana congressman, Perkins has been taking heat lately just because he gave a speech to a bunch of white supremacists in Baton Rouge in 2001. 

Some of this heat is unfair: The echo chamber of left-leaning media outlets have reported that the group Perkins spoke to, the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, once referred to African-Americans as a "retrograde species of humanity." But the CCC explains that its website used to contain a link to a group that stated that, not the group itself. The triple-C, which opposes "efforts to mix the races," stated that it had the offensive link removed. Today, it only links to a website that says things like "Zombies are the stuff of fiction; blacks are the stuff of nightmares." Much better.

Perkins claimed not to have been aware of the ideology of a bunch of white dudes in the deep South calling themselves the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is totally plausible. But that's not the only time he's courted controversy: In 1996, while managing a U.S. Senate campaign in Louisiana, Perkins bought David "Grand Wizard" Duke's campaign mailing list. There's not necessarily anything terrible about that —  in the cut-throat world of politics, a vote from a Holocaust-denying, cross-burning Caucasian counts just as much as a vote from a zombie or a black person. It's when Perkins covered it up that he got into trouble with the Federal Election Commission. 

As far as we can tell, Perkins never again spoke before the CCC; now he just oversees the Family Research Council and its pseudo-scientific arm, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which publishes "studies" that state things like the "overwhelming majority of black men and women cannot stand each other enough to stay together to raise the children they brought into existence." 

Who wouldn't want an endorsement from that guy? 

We look forward to seeing who else will slither forward to publicly pat Cruz on the back. For his sake, we hope it'll be someone as, um, respectable as Palin. 


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