Atheist Asks Marco Rubio Whether He's Running To Be 'Pastor-In-Chief'

"You have a right to believe whatever you want," Rubio said.

01/19/2016 12:52 pm ET | Updated Jan 20, 2016
  • Igor Bobic Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

An atheist confronted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at a campaign event in Iowa on Monday night over his growing appeals to evangelical voters, a key demographic in the early caucus state.

The man asked Rubio how he planned on representing the rights of atheists once in office, "because there's talks in our community of you running as pastor-in-chief and not commander-in-chief."

Rubio, a Roman Catholic who has ramped up his outreach to social conservatives in television ads and speeches, defended his right to speak about faith and said he believed in a country where “no one is forced to violate their conscience.”

"You have a right to believe whatever you want," Rubio said in Waverly, Iowa. "No one is going to force you to believe in God, but no one is going to force me to stop talking about God."

He added: "I'm not going to force you to pray, I'm not going to force you to go to church. I'm not going to force you to espouse beliefs that you don't have. But," Rubio said, turning his attention to supporters in the audience, "no one is going to take away my right and your right to live out the teachings of your faith. No one."

Rubio isn't the only one making appeals to evangelical voters. Real estate mogul Donald Trump took a stab at it as well before a Christian audience on Monday, only he apparently ended up misquoting the New Testament.

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