Q & A: Marco Rubio on His Faith of Many Colors
Since your faith has come up on occasion as a political issue, what would you say to those who suggest President Obama is a Muslim or not a "real Christian"?
I really don't endorse criticisms of the President's faith. I don't think they are fair, to be honest. One key thing about Christianity is that it requires voluntary acceptance of faith. If someone says he is a Christian, it is a sign of Christianity in and of itself. Christianity calls us to our salvation, and it also calls parents to contribute to their children's salvation. It calls us to be a light in the world. It doesn't call us to go around pointing other people out, saying so and so is deficient in their faith. It does call us to hold each other accountable. It's really asking us to look at ourselves, and that's really the only responsibility of Christianity. We're responsible for our own response to God's call in our life, and our own family's response.
When Obama uses his faith to defend same-sex marriage or other policies, do you think he's misinterpreting it?
I certainly don't reach the same conclusions he does. I've never criticized anyone for having their faith influence their public-policy decisions. If your faith is real, burning inside of you, it's going to influence the way you view everything. That belief influences your job and the responsibilities you have.
Are Christians who oppose gay marriage fighting a losing battle?
In terms of the Bible's interpretation of marriage, what our faith teaches is pretty straightforward. There's not much debate about that. The debate is about what society should tolerate, and what society should allow our laws to be. I believe marriage is a unique and specific institution that is the result of thousands of years of wisdom, which concluded that the ideal—not the only way but certainly the ideal—situation to raise children to become productive and healthy humans is in a home with a father and mother married to each other. Does that mean people who are not in that circumstance cannot be successful? Of course not.
It's not a discriminatory thing. I'm not angry at anyone because of it, but I also have to be honest about what I believe marriage should be in our laws.
Republican leaders seem to be shying away from the issue. Is that a strategic move, or should they address gay marriage more directly?
In the short term, the number-one issue threatening our country is the economy. We have to remain focused on the primary issue before us, the fact that millions of Americans have been out of work and that's what they look for their next President to help lead the way out of. That said, culture always matters. You can't have a strong economy or a strong country without strong people. Just like the issue of life, it will always be important, but because the President has presided over such failed economic policies, he is deliberately looking to have a debate about anything other than the economy. From a strategic point of view, we need to be cognizant of that. After all, our faith teaches us to be as gentle as lambs but as wise as serpents.