Lots of people speculate that if Mitt Romney becomes the GOP's nominee for president, Marco Rubio would be on his vice-presidential shortlist. But did you know that for a period of time in his life, Rubio was a "faithful Mormon?" And that he "enthusiastically encouraged" his family's participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Not many people knew that, until this BuzzFeed article came out, and now we should all apparently adjourn to our Deep Thoughts Dome and consider how this alters the political calculus. As BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins reports:
The revelation adds a new dimension to Rubio's already-nuanced religious history—and could complicate his political future at a time when many Republicans see him as the odds-on favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nod. Vice presidential candidates are traditionally chosen to provide ethnic and religious balance to a ticket. Mitt Romney's Mormonism and Rubio's Catholic faith would already mean the first two members of minority traditions on a Republican ticket in American history. Rubio's Mormon roots could further complicate that calculation.
Or, alternatively, we can note that all of this happened when Rubio was eight years old. After all, here is the "religion tick-tock" of Rubio's "already nuanced religious history."
Rubio was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family at around the age of eight, and remained active in the faith for a number of years during his early youth, family members told BuzzFeed.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed the story to BuzzFeed. Conant said Rubio returned to the Catholic church a few years later with his family, receiving his first communion on Christmas day in 1984 at the age of 13.
Yeah, okay, so Rubio was a "practicing Mormon" from the age of 8 to the age of 12, when he received Catholic communion. And at some point during that period, Rubio also probably stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, too. When did he stop believing in those personages, and how enthusiastic was he as a supporter of both? We obviously need to know this, to understand the super important political calculus.
It seems pretty clear, actually, that Rubio spent his youth in the Las Vegas suburbs and his family's closest friends were some Mormon relatives, and that some of the Rubios that joined the Mormon faith -- Rubio's father did not -- in order to be a part of a friendly community, and when the Rubios moved to Florida, they joined the Catholic Church for similar reasons. (The article seems to focus on Rubio's participation in a "singing group" that was way into the Osmond family, but remember, this all happened in the "late 70's," which happens to be the time that ABC was broadcasting "Donny & Marie Show.")
There is some indication that the Rubio camp is rattled by this revelation -- they apparently tipped off local Florida press to this story before confirming it with BuzzFeed -- probably because they understand that most people will skip over the "he was eight years old" part, and get right to the winking and the nudging and the overstating of the significance.
But the salient point is that Marco Rubio was a little kid when he participated in the Mormon Church, so this is not really part of a story about his "already nuanced religious history." And the fact that Rubio today seamlessly moves between Catholic and evangelical worlds, using the language of both whenever it's convenient, isn't part of a complicated or nuanced history either -- it's just standard issue political pandering.
Now hopefully all of this will lead to a video of Marco Rubio singing his favorite bits from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," right?
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