Like Peter Schorsch, I’m incredulous that this story managed to fly under the radar throughout an entire Senate campaign — not just the media’s radar, or the blogosphere’s, but also Rubio’s opponents’. Didn’t anybody in the Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek campaigns do an ounce of opposition research? In an age where everyone seems obsessed with their poltiicians’ religion, Marco Rubio’s sure is obscure… my totally coincidental second Catholic post of the day.
From the UK Telegraph’s blog:
The office of Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator-elect, isn’t at all happy about the focus on his religious affiliation. And I’m not surprised. Consider the folllowing facts:
1. Rubio attends a Miami church affiliated to the Southern Baptist Convention, whose theology comes straight from the American Bible Belt.
2. Rubio, according to his own office, has given a substantial amount of money in charitable donations to this hardline Protestant church.
3. Rubio’s office say he is still a Roman Catholic.
4. Rubio has received the highly advantageous endorsement of a Catholic lobby group which appears to believe that he is a Catholic, as opposed to a Protestant who has abandoned the Catholic Church.
The Catholic blogger Eric Giunta, a law student from Florida, wrote a fascinating article last week about Rubio’s mysterious religious affiliation, suggesting that the Republican Party’s rising star ought not to allow himself to be represented as a Catholic if he attends and supports financially a church affiliated to a historically anti-Catholic denomination. He was following up this blog post I wrote immediately after Rubio’s victory.
Rubio’s office sent back a rather pointed response insisting that the Senator-elect is still Catholic, and furthermore:
He was baptized, confirmed and married in the Roman Catholic Church. If you find that there is a dearth of pertinent material to write about, perhaps you can focus on the many serious issues facing our nation, and the reasons why the citizens of Florida overwhelmingly elected Mr. Rubio as their next United States Senator.
Well I don’t know how overwhelming it was — he didn’t even get 50 percent. But anyway, the religion issue apparently isn’t closed just yet. Giunta offered his own rather pointed response, and as Schorsch points out, this might actually matter, both to Catholics, and to evangelicals:
…which was a follow up to this post:
Then I came across this curious article from Politics Daily which (without apparently realising that it is doing so) reveals that he has abandoned the faith of his Cuban parents.
The author of the piece seems to think that attending Christ Fellowship Church is compatible with Catholicism. It is not. The congregation believes the following about the Eucharist:
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
That is Protestantism, pure and simple. Catholics regard the “symbolic” interpretation of the Eucharist as a serious heresy.
And Rubio certainly does not hold a very Catholic position on, say, immigration… he continues to oppose the DREAM Act, and other forms of immigration reform.
Conservatives are fond of twattling about President Obama’s religion, and these same Republicans are talking up Rubio for president. So shouldn’t his religion be relevant, too?
Ironically, if Rubio is an evangelical, it would make him more palatable to the tea party right, but perhaps a bit less palatable to fellow Hispanic voters, who overwhelming are both Catholic, and unlike Rubio, NOT Cuban-American. It will be interesting to see if this issue gets any oxygen.
UPDATE: BTW, it seems Mr. Rubio has been attending that Protestant megachurch for a decade, and making his religious donations there, not to a Catholic parish. Interestingly enough, Rubio’s political godfather, Jeb Bush, is a converted Catholic (the Bush family are Methodists, but Jeb converted when he married his wife, Columba, who is of Mexican descent.) I wonder if he and Marco go to praise and worship service together …