THE BLOG
02/29/2016 03:17 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2017

My Brief Support for Marco Rubio

I came close to supporting Marco Rubio for president when he reportedly had the courage to say that there are not many answers in the Bible. I say "reportedly" because this was one of many Ted Cruz fabrications. Rubio really said, "All the answers are in the Bible."

I wouldn't mind Rubio's actual statement so much if he were not responsible for policy-making decisions in a secular country. However, Rubio is on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Yes, science! I checked carefully and there are no science answers in the Bible, unless you accept this biblical view of science: The sun revolves about our fixed and flat earth, which is less than 6,000 years old, and humans didn't evolve but were created in their present form.

When Rubio was asked about the age of the Earth, he said, "I'm not a scientist, man." That's for sure.

Nevertheless, Rubio makes decisions in many areas where he is not an expert: science, economics, education, military, foreign policy, healthcare, environment, poverty, immigration, and taxation. Rubio is perhaps an expert only in politics, where he has spent his entire career. I don't expect politicians to be experts in all or even most areas, but I do expect them to read or hear from experts before making decisions that affect us all. You don't have to be a scientist to accept the non-controversial findings among scientists that the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old, and that climate change is real.

Rubio's personal (or pandering?) views are bad enough, but for Rubio the crux of the disagreement is "whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level." He added, "I don't want a school system that teaches kids that what they're learning at home is wrong."

Because some parents teach their children that evolution is a myth, that blacks are inferior to whites, and that women should be subservient to men, does Rubio want schools to avoid offering more modern points of view? If so, why not just keep children away from public schools so they won't be exposed to scientific and social views that conflict with literal interpretations of the Bible or whatever their parents believe? Oh, wait! We already allow home schooling.

At a town hall meeting before the Iowa caucus there, an atheist attendee said to Rubio that he was acting as if he were running for "Pastor-in-Chief" rather than "Commander-in-Chief," and asked how he would defend the rights of nontheists if elected president. The best Rubio could offer is that people have the right to believe whatever they want. He added, "This nation was founded on the principle that our rights come from our Creator," and "If there is no creator, then where did your rights come from?"

Good question. Let's assume that there really is a creator who also gave us some rights. Aside from which creator and what we know about him/her/it, what are these rights? The notion that our rights would have a firmer foundation if we believed they came from a creator is nonsense. We would need to interpret what the creator said, and our interpretation would depend on our moral sensibilities.

Rubio's rights-granting creator, the God of the Bible, condemns many rights guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. For instance, the First Commandment (thou shalt have no other gods) conflicts with our First Amendment, which guarantees the right to worship one, many, or no gods. You won't find democracy in the Bible, but you will find the divine right of kings. You won't find treating women as equals or condemnation of slavery, but you will find punishment for blasphemy.

According to the Constitution that Senator Rubio swore to uphold, our "rights" come from "we the people." Rights have evolved over millennia, thanks to evidence, rational thought, empathy, and moving away from bronze-age theology. No creator endowed us with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are specified in our founding documents, written by some of the best thinkers in the Enlightenment era, though they would probably change some wording today. "All men are created equal" would likely become "All people are created equal," including women and blacks.

All cultures have promoted variations of the "Golden Rule," the major difference being who was included within the scope of moral norms. For much of human existence, only members of a person's tribe, clan, ethnic group, or religion were entitled to moral respect, but that changed when we became more enlightened. Religions endorsed tribal morality when that was the prevailing ethic, and now most religions are inclined to support the prevailing ethic of universal human rights.

Those who find all their answers in the Bible presumably ignore the Constitution when it conflicts with the Bible. As for me, I feel fortunate to live in a country with a godless Constitution. But those who would rather be governed according to biblical rights (and wrongs) might prefer living under a theocracy--as long as it is their theocracy and not some theocracy of infidels. This atheist is almost tempted to say, "Thank God we live in a secular country."