An atheist named Justin Scott attended a Marco Rubio town hall meeting on January 18, 2016, and asked Rubio the following question:
I’m an atheist voter. I represent millions of atheists and non-theists around the country. One of the fastest growing voter blocs. And you said earlier that you wanted to stand up for religious freedom and all of that. My question is: For atheist voters that are looking for somebody that will uphold their rights as Americans, and not pander to a certain religious group, I just noticed your recent ad. It mentioned nothing about policy, it mentioned nothing about ideas, and it simply talked about wanting us to follow faith, and find God, and go to Heaven, and things like that. Which is fine for those people that align with you. My question is: how do you plan on upholding our rights and focusing on non-theists… because there’s talks in our community about running as “pastor in chief” instead of commander in chief, so I’m curious your thoughts (Patheos, Asking Marco Rubio How He'd Protect the Rights of Atheists is not a Gotcha Question, Hemant Mehta, January 21, 2016).Here is a video that Justin Scott recorded and placed on YouTube of the answer Marco Rubio gave.
In part of his response to the atheist Justin Scott, Marco Rubio said:
We are also going to have a country where no one is forced to violate their conscience, which means that no one is going to force you to believe in God. But, no one is going to force me to stop talking about God. I am not going to force you to pray. I am not going to force you to go to church. I am not going to force you to espouse beliefs that you don't have. But, no one is going to take away my right and your right to live out the teachings of your faith — no one.
You shouldn't be worried about my faith influencing me. In fact, I think you should hope my faith influences me and here's why. You know what my faith teaches me? My faith teaches me that I have an obligation to care for the less fortunate. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation to love my neighbor. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation for those who are hungry to help try to feed them; for those that are naked, to help clothe them. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation that I need to minister to those in prison. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation that if I want to serve Jesus that I have to serve [others]. I think you should hope that influences me (Marco Rubio as quoted by The Christian Post, Rubio to Atheist, Samuel Smith, January 19, 2016).
For more information on this moment when Marco Rubio answered an atheist read these articles:
- Legal Insurrection.com, Marco Rubio Answers Atheist on Question of Faith, Kemberlee Kaye, January 19, 2016
- Time.com, Marco Rubio Finds God with Atheist Question in Iowa, Zeke J. Miller, January 19, 2016
- The Christian Post, Rubio to Atheist, Samuel Smith, January 19, 2016