After Marco Rubio suffered a landslide defeat in the Presidential primaries, including a rout in his home state of Florida, he promised he wasn't going to run again for the Senate seat he holds but hates (his words, not mine).
Because he's known for flip-flopping on issues for political reasons, it came as no surprise to many when he decided at the last minute that he would indeed run for reelection. What was surprising was the excuse he used to make his decision. Rubio claimed that the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando "inspired him to run."
Given that Rubio is both pro-gun and anti-gay, this was strange, unless of course he really meant he was inspired to use the attack to push for more anti-gay attacks at the hands of gunmen. Oddly enough, when activists held a sit-in at his offices in Orlando for several days over his inaction on gun violence, he never made an appearance there.
Rubio's "inspiration" aside, he's about to appear a conference sponsored by the anti-LGBT Christian group Liberty Counsel, an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the same city where the attacks occurred and just two months after the attacks happened. Not only that, Rubio defends his decision in typical Rubio fashion:
Because I believe that a strong America is not possible without strong families and strong values, for years now I have participated in events hosted by faith leaders to speak about the cultural and social issues before America, including the importance of parents and families, religious liberties and combatting poverty.
I have always supported a traditional definition of marriage. But I recognize that a significant number of Americans hold a different view. Because marriage is regulated by the individual states, they have the right to petition their state legislature to change the law. And those of us who support traditional marriage also have a right to oppose those efforts.
Never mind that Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality the law of the land (at the time of that decision, Rubio claimed the Supreme Court "overstepped"), and never mind that legal challenges to same-sex marriage by the State of Florida failed, Rubio is ignoring all that to score political points from anti-LGBT hate groups in hopes of keeping the Senate job he loathes and rarely shows up for.
The Florida event is part of a series of “Rediscovering God in America” events hosted by David Lane, a self-described “a political operative” intent on infusing the U.S. government with his own brand of Christian nationalism. Lane has said that God will punish America for its growing acceptance homosexuality with “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa” and potentially the total destruction of America.
At least as of recently, Lane’s American Renewal Project, which organizes these events, functioned as part of the American Family Association, one of the most vehemently anti-LGBT groups on the Religious Right.
The very first Rediscovering God in America event, which took place in Iowa in 2011, was clearly political. At that event, Mike Huckabee called on participants to become “spiritual warriors” to fight marriage equality, and David Barton, who will also be addressing the Florida event, claimed that Jesus Christ opposed the minimum wage.
The appearance of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver alongside Rubio at the Orlando event should also put to rest the claim that this is an apolitical event.
Staver has claimed that gay rights advocates are terrorist-like minions of Satan who are paving the way for the destruction of America and a second revolution. When the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ban on gay members, Staver said that the group would turn into “a playground for pedophiles,” claiming that gay people “entrap” and “groom” children and “force people into a lifestyle of destruction.” Besides pedophilia, Staver has also linked homosexuality to the 2008 financial crisis and violent crime.
Staver, whose clients include anti-gay heroes such as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, has “praised moves in Russia, India, Malawi and Nigeria to outlaw homosexual relationships or speech in favor of gay rights.”
This is hardly the first time Rubio's attended one of these events. In fact, you could even call him a regular. He's rubbed shoulders with Barton, Staver, and the others before. Rubio's an old hand at drumming up the anti-LGBT fever at these events, saying things like this.
Yes, Marco Rubio never hesitates to use religion as a way to hurt people while claiming to take the moral high ground. Be it through pandering to those who seek to take rights away from the LGBT community and who promote the very kind of hate that inspires mass shootings, or pandering to those who would punish women simply for seeking to protect themselves and their children from the Zika virus.
You see, Rubio loves freedom and rights for others as long as they fall under the narrow category of rights and freedom that Rubio believes in.