Christian leaders and social conservatives from across the country are gathering in Washington, D.C. this weekend for the annual Faith and Freedom Forum.  The event put on by the Faith and Freedom Coalition traditionally brings out big-name political and religious figures addressing the importance of religious and social issues in American life and politics.  This year's event includes a who's-who of potential 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Sen. Cruz addressed the gathering Thursday, calling attention to the plight of people of faith around the world.  "Christians are being persecuted in stunning numbers," he told the crowd.  "They are being stoned, they are being tortured, they are being beheaded, they are being crucified."  Sen. Cruz also called out the Obama Administration for policies that are hostile to people with Christian beliefs.  "You look at the intrusions on religious liberty that are represented in Obamacare," he said, referring to legal cases brought by the Christian-owned business Hobby Lobby and a group of Catholic nuns over requirements in the health care law.

Cathie Adams, president of the grassroots conservative group Texas Eagle Forum, tells KTRH she is encouraged by what she sees at the event.  "When you look at Sen. Cruz going to other states and see the people turning out...people are coming to hear about economic conservatism and social conservatism."  She hopes that events like the Faith and Freedom Forum will encourage politicians to speak out more on social issues.  "It has always been a winning issue for any political party that will embrace the union of social and fiscal conservative ideas," says Adams.

Watch Senator Ted Cruz's full speech at the Faith and Freedom Forum: