Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was re-united yesterday with the pastor who led his father and him to Jesus decades ago, according to an article in the Christian Post today, Saturday, Aug. 15. Cruz was at a campaign stop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee when he asked if the pastor was in the crowd gathered to hear him.
He said, “I was told Pastor Gaylon Wiley was here today. Is that right?”
When it became apparent Wiley was present, Cruz further said, “I haven’t seen brother Wiley since I was a kid. Brother Wiley led my dad to the Lord.” Cruz also said, “Brother Wiley baptized me when I was eight years old as a Christian. So I am really glad to be in Tennessee.”
Cruz was baptized by the preacher in the 1970s. He hadn’t seen him in several decades. He was effusive in his praise for the man who transformed the course not only of his life, but also the lives of his mother and father.
The presidential candidate said Wiley was responsible for reconciling his family. Cruz, who is currently a U.S. Senator from Texas, also said, “If it were not for Wiley, it is likely the Cruz family would never have gotten together again.” Rafael Cruz was doing well in the oil and energy business in Canada when he suddenly hopped a plane to Houston leaving his wife and son behind in Calgary.
Evidently, the stress of leading a family was more than he could handle. He abandoned Ted when he was age three. With his wife and son left behind in Canada, Rafael lived alone in Houston. But dramatic events in the Lone Star State brought about a change in Rafael’s heart.
Gaylon Wiley invited Cruz to attend his church. Rafael accepted the invitation. Later, when Wiley delivered the mail to the Canadian, Rafael accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord. Shortly after his visit to the Clay Road Baptist Church and decision to followed Christ, Rafael’s heart was transformed. He decided he should and could be a family man.
Rafael re-united with his family, but he didn’t re-enter the oil and energy business. He also changed careers and became a preacher himself. He has been an outspoken supporter of his son’s run for the presidency in 2015.
Ted Cruz was elected the first Hispanic or Cuban American to serve as U.S. Senator from the state of Texas in 2012. Before that he served as Texas Solicitor General from 2003-2008 in the Office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott appointed him to that post.
On March 23, 2015 Cruz announced at Liberty University he would run for the Republican nomination for president. Cruz was one of 10 candidates who participated a week ago in the GOP Presidential debate in Cleveland. Cruz gives a great deal of credit to Pastor Wiley who he says impacted his life.
Wiley has preached for more than 40 years. He moved to Tennessee 12 years ago.
Pastor Rafael Cruz spoke at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, August 9, 2014. Pastor Wiley spoke about Pastor Cruz on the WDTN local news channel, saying, “I had the privilege of talking to Rafael Cruz in the 1970s in a home just like Ted told today. The Holy Spirit touched him such that he fell out of that chair, on his knees and prayed the sinner’s prayer and changed his life. He flew back to Canada and got his family back together again.”
Ted Cruz met with Pastor Wiley after he finished his speech. He then took off in his bus for his next appearance on the campaign trail. He also visited Chattanooga, Franklin and Jackson.
Pastor Rafael Cruz said in a recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman that he was sad that court decisions have closed a more God-centered era in public schools. He said, “Prior to 1962, everybody prayed before school started. In 1962 the Supreme Court banned prayer. In 1963 they banned the Bible from school. Prior to that, the Bible was the principal textbook in all schools.”
There has been a major cultural change in the public schools of the United States in recent decades. There was a day when school prayers in Texas were given over the public address systems before classes started each morning. There was a time when Bible verses were read in public schools.
In 1962 the case of Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court overturned a New York law which required a nondenominational prayer at the beginning of the school day. A year later the court ruled in Abington School District v. Schempp that school-sponsored Bible readings were also unconstitutional.
Recently, Franklin Graham, the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said America is headed down the road to even greater persecution of Christians. It’s not as severe as in the Middle East where ISIS is beheading Christians, but it’s headed in that direction, according to Graham who also heads Samaritan’s Purse and is the son of Billy Graham.