Fighting for Florida

On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, I join with Christians around the world in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Scripture tells us that when one part of the body suffers the entire body shares its suffering. When it comes to the Christian faithful, without question, the body is suffering.
From the underground house church in China where worshippers gather in fear of communist government persecution, to the displaced Iraqi and Syrian Christians wondering if they will ever return home to the cradle of Christianity, the Church internationally is under seige. From the imprisoned believer in Pakistan facing a possible death sentence for believing in God, to the starving Christian in a North Korean prison camp, churches around the world are increasingly under assault.
Today I stand in solidarity with these suffering believers and thank God for the steadfast and unwavering faith of so many, young and old, in the midst of oppression, marginalization, kidnapping, imprisonment and even death. I pray that God would grant them courage and even hope in the midst of these trials.

Yom Kippur

Sep 22 2015

Rubio: "It is my prayer that our Jewish friends and neighbors, especially our allies in the great nation of Israel, find peace and renewal as they observe this sacred time of reflection and atonement."
Rubio: "In a world where life is increasingly not valued, where people are summarily discarded, America must stand for the belief that all life is worthy of protection."
"Today, as our nation marks POW-MIA Recognition Day, join me in taking a moment to remember these American heroes, as well as their friends and families."


Sep 15 2015

As the Obama White House prepares to roll out the red carpet for Chinese president and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, I am joining with my fellow CECC Co-Chair, Rep. Chris Smith, in the #FreeChina’sHeroes initiative to highlight the cases of individuals who are presently imprisoned, detained or disappeared in China.

Rosh Hashanah

Sep 13 2015

Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year, is a time of reflection and new beginnings for the Jewish community. We wish the Jewish people in the U.S., Israel and throughout the world a day of many blessings and peace as they celebrate this High Holiday.
Let us also recognize the profound influence that Judeo-Christian values have had on shaping this great nation and how they are among the many reasons we are so closely linked to Israel. Although this past year has brought many great challenges to Israel, it also reminded us of why the Jewish state remains a friend of the U.S. like no other - one we must continue to defend and protect.
In this time of prayer and reflection, my family and I wish all members of the Jewish community a happy and healthy new year. May this celebration bring with it lasting peace and prosperity.
Shanah Tovah U’metukah.
For those of us who lived through that day, we can hardly believe that 14 years have passed since the September 11 attacks against our nation. As Americans, this day will always be a day for us to remember those we lost and the heroic efforts of our first responders and fellow citizens who risked, and many of whom sacrificed, their lives while attempting to save others. While the painful memories of these attacks will forever be a part of our lives, so will our resilience as a nation following them.
On this anniversary, we are reminded of the greatness of America through the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, intelligence community, our diplomatic corps, and law enforcement agencies who every day honor the memory of the fallen heroes of September 11th by defending America at home and abroad and working to prevent another terrorist attack.  From the battlefields of the war against terror to Benghazi, Libya, many of these brave individuals have paid the ultimate price in the fourteen years since September 11, 2001.
But like any anniversary, this day is also a time to look forward. After my recent visit to the memorial in Chattanooga dedicated to the 5 U.S. servicemen killed there in July and the ongoing debate regarding the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, I am reminded of the patriotic duty we have to remain vigilant in our daily lives to ensure the uniqueness of our nation remains a reality for many generations to come. Fourteen years later, with threats to our nation from abroad and here at home growing, we live in a world as dangerous as ever.
As we honor those we lost that September morning, we should renew our commitment to stand for the freedoms we have always defended and commit to a foreign policy that promotes American strength and reflects our core values as a nation.
Rubio: "With the 2015 hurricane season underway, my Senate office stands ready to serve you in the event of a storm."
Last week, after months of delay, the State Department released its annual congressionally mandated 2014 Human Rights Report. Each year, the U.S. assesses the status of human rights in countries across the world. The report’s findings paint a grim picture of assaults on human dignity from Tehran to Havana, from Beijing to Caracas.
The annual report provides an opportunity for the U.S. to highlight countries that have improved their human rights records, while at the same time exposing countries that have failed to uphold their citizens’ most basic rights. While reports such as these do not alone inform U.S. foreign policy, they are a critical window into areas of need around the world. Time and again, I have encouraged this Administration to elevate the promotion and protection of basic human rights and religious freedom as a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Sadly, this has not been a priority for the Obama Administration, and the world is worse off for it.
The 2014 Human Rights Report highlighted human rights atrocities committed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram, now an official affiliate of ISIS. These Islamist terrorist organizations attacked and killed thousands of innocent, men, women and children, specifically targeting minority ethnic and religious groups. In Iraq and Syria, Christians and Yezidis were ruthlessly killed, abducted and expelled from their homes. In Nigeria, Boko Haram’s human rights abuses reached unprecedented levels, including the kidnapping, raping, and trafficking of 273 female students from Chibok, most of whom were Christians.
Freedom of expression was limited by governments in China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia. These governments employed tactics such as imprisonment of journalists, bloggers, and non-violent critics, as well as censorship of media. In fact the report highlighted the role of technology in “combatting as well as carrying out human rights violations.”
In China, the government has unabashedly cracked down on civil society, stifled dissent, repressed religious believers and ethnic minorities, and silenced critics. In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, Chinese authorities further clamped down by detaining, disappearing or questioning more than 150 lawyers, activists, journalists and dissidents.
The government of Iran continued to severely restrict its citizens’ civil liberties, arbitrarily detaining at least 895 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including the following three Americans: journalist Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and former Marine Amir Hekmati . Additionally the Iranian government is refusing to provide information on Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who has been missing since 2007.
Cuba remains a serious abuser of human rights with an estimated 8,899 uses of short-term detentions in 2014, an increase from 6,424 in 2013. On June 21, during a peaceful protest in Holguin, state police officers allegedly arrested and beat a Lady in White member, Magaly Norvis Otero, who was eight months pregnant at that point and subsequently miscarried.
During the press briefing following the release of the report, several enterprising reporters rightly seized on the seeming inconsistency between the findings documented in the report and the Administration’s conciliatory posture toward the regimes in Iran and Cuba.
As pointedly as I may disagree with President Obama, I am grateful to live in a country where I am free to do so. As Americans prepare to celebrate the independence of our own Republic, we are reminded of the fundamental truths enshrined in our founding documents—revolutionary notions of self-governance, universal human dignity, and God-given rights. For over two centuries, the world has been a better place because America has worked to defend these fundamental human rights at home and abroad.