Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Mike Gilland on Shepherd Radio’s Afternoons with Mike for National Day of Prayer. See below for excerpts and listen to the full interview here.
On challenging times in America:
“Being America is not easy. No society in history has ever tried to live up to the principles that we’re aspiring to live up to, and each generation has brought us closer to it. But, it’s a quality that the belief that your right comes from your Creator and not from government. These were revolutionary principles,and to put them in play in a diverse and large country, over an extended period of time, it’s always been a challenge.
“I think what’s challenging us now is that we’re living in a time of incredible, rapid, historic, economic, and social transformation that I think is moving faster than our institutions and our people’s ability to keep up with it – and certainly our government’s ability to keep up with it – so there’s a lot of pressure, you know, on everyone, and there’s a lot of strains being put on it.”
On Rubio’s statement that he would rather lose an election than be wrong in life:
“I was asked about my position on Roe v. Wade, and I just said, ‘look I don’t care… I understand what the polling is… I said for me it’s not a political issue; it’s a definitional one, and I’d rather lose an election than get it wrong when it comes to the importance and the sanctity of human life.’ I mean without human life, none of the other things we’re talking about matter, none of them. There is no government, no policy, nothing. It’s the most essential right and one that, if we lose respect for, everything else begins to crumble.”
On the most pressing needs in our nation:
“I always remind people that America is not a government -- it’s not even an economy -- America is a society. And at its very basic level, the most basic unit of society is family. That’s the first school, the first government; it’s the place where people learn values, they learn not what’s legal or illegal, they learn what’s right or wrong; something can be legal and be wrong. And if that falls apart, nothing else matters; nothing else works. If that falls apart, if the family unit falls apart, everything else disintegrates because there’s no law you can pass, no government program you can come up with, to substitute for it.
“So I would say our biggest need is to rebuild the family, to help – and that’s not really a government function. The government should certainly be pro-family, and we shouldn’t have any policies that are anti-family, and I think it’s really important that we focus on the importance of family. What happens in your house is so much more important than whatever happens in the U.S. House, or in the Senate for that matter, and I used to say it all the time that what happens in your house is more important than what’s happening in the White House, on a daily basis. And then if you rebuild family then you can rebuild community, and that’s the places where we come together with one another to do things; sometimes they’re leisure activities, but sometimes it’s the places where we come together to volunteer, to help the less fortunate, to put our faith into practice for those of us of the Christian faith and so forth, and that’s also essential. ...
“I mean one of the things that’s tearing this country apart is that we’re a nation of strangers, we literally don’t know each other, and the culture is constantly forcing us to line up against one another, to choose sides on every and politicizing every issue… That’s the one thing I pray for is not the fake unity that people talk about -- unity is not that we all agree -- unity is the unity of purpose, the fact that we do have some things in common that are more important than whatever divides us, and we’ve lost that as a country because we literally don’t know each other. We don’t interact anymore, because community and family have fallen behind everything else.”
On the Equality Act and the threat it poses to the American family and religious liberty:
“The first [step] is we have to defeat that bill. The equality bill, I don’t call it that, I know that’s what they’ve labeled it, but it’s false advertising. It’s one of the things where you call it something that it isn’t. It has very little to do with equality. What it really has to do with is chipping away at the freedoms that people have to live out their ideals.
“Now, I think, for those of us of the Christian faith, it’s immoral to be discriminatory. Everybody is entitled to the respect and dignity that they deserve as children of God. By the same token, we have to have freedom to teach and to live our faith in everything we do, and that includes in our activities in the private sector. So, if you look at what that bill would do, and as one example, if you are - and even now it’s possible under executive order - if you are now a faith-based organization that provides services, let’s say for battered women, but you follow precepts of your faith when it comes to the definition of gender, as an example, you could be denied federal funding, if you receive any.
“That’s where it starts; that won’t be where it ends. I think it’ll continue, the next push will be denying non-for-profits, and on and on. So, that’s just one small-scale example of how this is being operational, of course then it’s all couched in terms of ‘this is intolerance.’ Well, the opponents of what I’m arguing for are all for tolerance; the only thing they’re intolerant of is anyone who disagrees with them. They’re intolerant of everyone – they’re tolerant only of those who agree with them, and anyone who doesn’t agree with them they label as a “hater” and “despicable,” other things that they used to call them. So, I think it will be defeated in the Senate, but I want to remind everybody that because the Senate has a rule called the filibuster, if that were to ever go away this would be the law of the United States. This President would sign it, the House has already passed it, and at least fifty senators would vote for it.”
On preserving the filibuster:
“I think it’s essential. I’ve always believed that. And the reason why is because if you look at the design of our system of government, it was designed to have a Senate that slowed things down. The framers of our Constitution were not perfect, but they were very wise, and they understood human nature. And the one thing they understood is that from time to time societies would be overcome by passion. By the urgency of the moment in which something would be very popular; everybody would say, ‘This just happened, we have to do something,’ and they realized that those are sometimes the moments where we make our biggest mistakes, both as individuals and as a culture and a society, and so they wanted there to be a legislative body, that was structured differently, that would slow things down, and would cause the temperature to drop and to make a more rational decision -- not just jump into something because there were passions of the moment.
“And the filibuster, while not in the Constitution, is reflective of that -- the idea that the Senate needs to be a place where you take a little longer to do things, and it’s sometimes frustrating when something feels urgent, but it’s important for the long-term health of the country. So, I’ve never supported getting rid of the filibuster, not when my party wanted to do it and certainly not now when the other party wants to do it.”
On COVID-19 recovery efforts in Florida and across the nation:
“I think Florida’s ahead of the country in [reopening], and that’s very positive. I think the Governor deserves a lot of credit for that. And I think America -- people can criticize all they want how we responded to it, but no nation on Earth has done vaccines better in terms of not just its innovation and its production, but its distribution. The United States has produced three, and soon, it appears it’ll be four, effective vaccines in record time. About half of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. A substantial majority of people over 65 have received both vaccines.
“Now, the threat is still out there. There are still people getting sick, unfortunately, and we shouldn’t let our guard down. But I think you always have to balance that with the reality, that, like anything else when you’re making policy decisions, there’s a cost-benefit analysis and a role for common sense. And so I think Florida has handled that better than the rest of the country, and I think it’s reflected in our economy and in the state of play here.”
On Senator Rubio’s prayer intentions:
“There’s two things I always pray for, and I ask for those to pray for me. Obviously, for my family, who I do spend some time away from, but God has honored us and protected them throughout my time in public service. So, I ask that people continue to pray for them, I think it’s really important.
“And the other, obviously, is for wisdom. Wisdom for me, wisdom for all of our leaders, and wisdom for our country -- that we’ll make the right decisions, and decisions that honor God. Those are two things that I ask for, and I’m thankful for those that do pray and are praying for us.”