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Is Ted Cruz a faux-Evangelical?

Scott Olson / Getty Images

His political opponents would like you to think so. Donald Trump kicked off the Christian Cruz conspiracy back in December, suggesting that “not too many Evangelicals come out of Cuba,” where Cruz’s family hails from. Now, in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, Cruz’s competitors for the Republican nomination have again taken aim at his Evangelical bonafides in hopes of undercutting his success with the state’s Evangelical Christians. 

The latest target? Cruz’s supposedly meager history of tithing. A new attack ad produced by Americans United for Values adduces a 2012 report that found Cruz gave less than 1 percent of his income to charity to suggest the senator’s Christian faith is “phony.” (The Christian tradition of tithing, meanwhile, calls believers to donate 10 percent of their income to the church, though the exact requirements of tithing are disputed between denominations.) The ad, which also implies that Cruz doesn’t prioritize battling same-sex marriage, will air on news, sports, and Christian radio stations in Iowa during the coming weeks. 

Because tithing isn’t an entirely agreed upon practice, it’s possible the Cruz campaign will have a perfectly satisfactory answer to the ad’s claims, but it also seems the faux-Evangelical line of attack isn’t going anywhere soon.