If you’ve ever attended a Christian school—or a Christian camp or youth group or retreat—you know that unusual revisions of classic hymns sometimes rear their quirky little heads. Republican presidential Ted Cruz, speaking to a group at First Baptist Church in Dallas, explained that he learned a unique version of “Amazing Grace” while attending Second Baptist High School in Houston.
Cruz, who says he’s the “product of Christian education,” admitted there are “good things and bad things you learn from that.” One of the things he says learned at his Christian high school is that the hymn “Amazing Grace” and the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island” are musically interchangeable. He demonstrated for the audience at the Dallas Church (HT: Moe Lane):
He later explained in an interview with C-SPAN that he “sorta felt inspired” at that moment, singing from the pulpit:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see,
was blind but now I see.
To the tune of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song!
The Texas senator left it up to the audience to decide whether this new version of the classic hymn was one of the good things or bad things he gleaned from his Christian education. However, Cruz did tell C-SPAN that his impromptu performance sent his campaign team into a panic. “Going, ‘Oh my goodness! He’s singing on stage. We’re doomed. The political career is over,'” Cruz chuckled. “But somehow I survived.”
One reason Cruz is surging in Iowa is that he “gets” Christian culture. Not as someone who poll tested the lines to determine what Christian audiences want to hear, but as a true insider—a person who grew up in Christian culture and who spends time with actual Christians. Unlike some other candidates for whom “Christian” is a foreign language (you sense they’re brushing up with “Rosetta Stone, Christian Edition” on the side), Cruz speaks the language fluently, without the awkward McCain-like moderate Christian accent.
It’s refreshing that in a day and age when Christianity is under attack, a candidate for the highest office in the land is not ashamed to speak so openly about his faith. And bonus points for having a little fun in the process!