Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has received an endorsement from Mike Bickle, a preacher who has, on at least one occasion, said that Jews will be exterminated if they do not embrace Jesus as their savior. The Texas senator announced the endorsement from the founder and director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, an evangelical missions organization, on his official campaign website.
“Through prayer, the Lord has changed my life and altered my family’s story,” Cruz said in a statement. “I am grateful for Mike’s dedication to call a generation of young people to prayer and spiritual commitment. Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support. With the support of Mike and many other people of faith, we will fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.”
Forward reported that Bickle in 2004 delivered a controversial sermon:
"“Let me tell you, these 20 million — less than 20 million Jews worldwide, there’s about 5 million in Israel, about another 15 million worldwide, a little bit less than that — those 15 million, God is going to bring them all back. Two-thirds will die in the rage of Satan and in the judgments of God and one-third, every one of the one-third, will be in the land before it’s over and they’ll be worshipers of Jesus … The Lord says, ‘I’m going to give all 20 million of them the chance. To respond to the fisherman. And I give them grace. And I give them grace …if they don’t respond to grace, I’m going to raise up the hunters … And the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler.’”
Bickle has also declared that television personality Oprah Winfrey is the "forerunner of the Antichrist," according to Right Wing Watch.
Bickle's Baptist church has also come under fire before for screening a video in 2012 featuring Ugandan religious leader Julius Peter Oyet, who called for gay people to be imprisoned or killed. The Ugandan leader purportedly pushed forward the country's anti-homosexuality bill, which would sentence people to life in prison if convicted of homosexuality.
Despite the church's controversial reputation, Cruz touted the endorsement with supporters on his official website.
“Our nation is in a great crisis in this hour,” Bickle said. “We need a president who will first be faithful to honor God’s Word. We need a president who will work to defend religious liberty, uphold our Constitution, keep our country safe and our economy sound, and speak truth to the nation. We have been praying for righteous leaders and Ted Cruz is such a leader. I am enthusiastically endorsing Ted Cruz.”