Rubio responds to atheist questioner: “I think you should hope my faith influences me”

posted at 11:21 am on January 20, 2016 by Allahpundit

Lots of praise for this clip from conservative writers over the past 48 hours. David French calls it a rare profound moment on the trail; the headline for Stephen Kruiser’s piece at PJM describes it as possibly the best answer ever given by a Republican on religion. It’s a showcase for Rubio’s particular political talent the same way the now famous clip of Chris Christie talking about addiction was a showcase for Christie’s. Normally I’d headline a video like this “Rubio versus atheist questioner,” but that’s the point — he refuses to let this guy, who’s civil but obviously skeptical of him using religion in his ads, bait him into antagonism towards atheists. Us-and-them cultural shtick is Cruz’s game, per “New York values.” Rubio is the would-be uniter. The most effective bit is the last 45 seconds where he makes the case that even atheists should hope that he’s influenced in office by his Christian faith. As a scripted response, it would be sharp. Off the cuff, in reply to a question, it’s exceptionally deft. If you like Rubio — and I do, despite some of his whinier fans constantly grousing at me for criticizing him — his skill and tone here are why you like him even if you don’t share his beliefs. This isn’t the first time that he’s knocked Christians out with a defense of his faith either. Last month in Iowa he went for 10 full minutes on the subject to a roomful of pastors, leaving CBN contributor David Brody praising his answer as a “thing of beauty.” I know Mike Huckabee thinks he’d have cornered the market on evangelical voters this year if Cruz hadn’t run, but watch this. I’m not so sure.

My criticism here isn’t even a criticism, really, just an observation, which is that Rubio’s rhetorical talent has never been in question. That he’s capable of an answer like this under pressure has always been priced into his stock. I get the sense from some Rubio fans (not all, just some) that they think the fact that he can do this better than anyone else in the field is reason enough to support him. Lay aside immigration; lay aside hyperinterventionism; lay aside sugar cronyism and campus Star Chamber tribunals and everything else. Isn’t this the guy you want at the podium defending the Republican agenda? To which I say: The policies have to matter more than the message, don’t they? Otherwise those Obama comparisons start to feel more apt than they should.


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Comment pages: 1 2

So devil worshippers, for example, have as much right to express themselves as Christians. That’s just a way of saying, be careful what you wish for :-)

MJBrutus on January 20, 2016 at 1:32 PM

The moment they don’t, we’ve given up on America.

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:04 PM

MJBrutus

Besides, no one REALLY worships the devil, it’s all satire to make just this point about freedom of speech and religion. Except for those D&D players in the 80s. Those guys were totally Satanists.

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Not an ideal candidate, but at least a genuine conservative

JudetheFossil on January 20, 2016 at 1:21 PM

Sorry, no. He is NOT a conservative.

verbaluce on January 20, 2016 at 1:19 PM

So, you prefer a President without humility? One that thinks there is no higher power than himself? No wonder you like 0bama so much.

GWB on January 20, 2016 at 3:21 PM

But did he take a drink of water when he said it?!?! Major fail — he’s a laughingstock!
/leftist

Eviva on January 20, 2016 at 3:24 PM

There is nothing that free speech and freedom of religion (regardless of your employer) that will truly hurt anyone.

Cindy Munford on January 20, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Disagree. Freedom for islam to operate as it wishes will certainly harm people. And, despite CD’s flippant dismissal of satanism, there really are religions out there that still practice things like human sacrifice (I mean besides progressivism). Those things should not be allowed, as contrary to our founding principles.

GWB on January 20, 2016 at 3:29 PM

So, you prefer a President without humility? One that thinks there is no higher power than himself? No wonder you like 0bama so much.

GWB on January 20, 2016 at 3:21 PM

How does not believing in God equate to lacking humility? It’s the same logic trap as thinking that one cannot have morals without religion. The humanists/atheists I know ascribe to something greater than themselves in service to a larger human community, take near-religious awe in the wonder of nature and science, etc., etc.—how are these incompatible with humility and the ability to serve?

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM

/leftist my simple idea of a leftist

Eviva on January 20, 2016 at 3:24 PM

FIFY

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM

Because you scoff at a man on his knees.

GWB on January 20, 2016 at 3:58 PM

Because you scoff at a man on his knees.

GWB on January 20, 2016 at 3:58 PM

I scoff at a man who insists you must be religious to be president. THAT’s what I scoff at.

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Except for those D&D players in the 80s. Those guys were totally Satanists.

CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Satan wasn’t in the Monster Manual… I think you mean either Asmodeus or Beelzebub.

Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to have a copy of the 1st Edition Deities & Demigods, so you could have a choice of Cthulhu or the Gods of (not just in) Lankhmar.

malclave on January 20, 2016 at 6:16 PM

malclave on January 20, 2016 at 6:16 PM

+111 for sheer geek-i-tude! Oh, those long rides in the back of the bus in MS.

CivilDiscourse on January 21, 2016 at 2:18 AM

“I scoff at a man who insists you must be religious to be president. THAT’s what I scoff at.
CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 4:09 PM”
If you weren’t so ignorant of history you’d know you’re scoffing at the vast majority of our Founders, many of whom were clergy, and the only ones with such an ignorant attitude are those who are no less blind to the present reality, it was the same attitude that founded the now extinct USSR. Ironically the only safe place for an atheist is in a Christian (or formerly Christian) country like the US, for atheist countries have no practical laws against murder, no thou shalt not kill, and no genuine moral or philosophical basis for it as history has proven, e.g. the 1789 godless French Revolution blood bath (that worshiped prostitutes costumed as the Goddess “Reason”) where even allied groups turned on and butchered each other, the reason our Founders rather embraced the Christian faith no matter the gross ignorance of those useful idiot (Lenin’s term) enough to disagree.

russedav on January 21, 2016 at 3:18 PM

“I scoff at a man who insists you must be religious to be president. THAT’s what I scoff at.
CivilDiscourse on January 20, 2016 at 4:09 PM”

If you weren’t so ignorant of history you’d know you’re scoffing at the vast majority of our Founders

russedav on January 21, 2016 at 3:18 PM

Please point to where this requirement is written into our guiding/founding documents, and I’ll concede you may have a valid point.

CivilDiscourse on January 21, 2016 at 3:26 PM

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (as a colony), the Penn family offered freedom of religion; and let anyone of any faith hold office provided only that they believed in (a) God. This was so that they could take Oaths of Office, among other considerations.

The current PA Constitution, Article I, Sec. 4:

No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

This potentially excludes atheists, who dispute the Being of a God, etc.

ReggieA on January 21, 2016 at 4:41 PM

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