GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio joined the Christian persecution chorus this week, suggesting that Christianity may soon be considered hate speech due to LGBTQ equality activism. Rubio told the Christian Broadcasting Network Tuesday that the debate over gay marriage has led to increasing intolerance of the religious values of conservative Christians.
“If you think about it, we are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” Rubio said. “Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.”
The Florida Republican went on to warn that the debate over gay marriage has resulted in the social persecution of many Christian people and the faith itself.
“After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech and there’s a real and present danger,” Rubio added.
Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference defended Rubio’s remarks when he clashed with American Atheists president David Silverman on the Fox News program Hannity on Thursday. In response to Silverman, who said Rubio’s remark cloaks bigotry in religious liberty, Rodriguez countered that it’s Christians who are suffering from bigotry.
“It’s bigotry and intolerance towards those who believe the Bible and our Judeo-Christian values system,” Rodriguez said. “There is bigotry and intolerance, but it’s against Christians who believe in the word of God.”
The rhetoric of Christian persecution isn’t a new phenomenon in the Republican Party. On April 23, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee went on a conference call conducted by the Family Research Council and stated that “Christian convictions are under attack as never before.”
“We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity—where it’s not simply going to be that a church’s tax-exempt status is threatened,” said Huckabee, who is also running for the party nomination. “But, more importantly, where criminal charges for a person who defies a new government norm, a new legal norm and that is a homosexual orientation becomes a protected class.”