“We are not Iran. At least not yet. The Christian mullahs are more likely to mislead adherents than to guide them according to the best medical advice.”
Marco Rubio
People forget that Marco Rubio was a Tea Party politician

via Salon

Senator Marco Rubio briefed pastors and Christian leaders on a conference call regarding the coronavirus. Some of what Rubio had to say was valuable but there are problems and concerns.

For starters this was coordinated by Hate Group Leader John Stemberger of Florida Family Policy Council. While overlooked by the Southern Poverty Law Center, FFPC spews venom at LGBTQ people that is worthy of any national hate group. The format for the call consisted of Stemberger interviewing Rubio.

Then there is Rubio’s disturbing connections to the Christian right. He was a speaker at an event held by David Lane. Lane is no ordinary denizen of the lunatic fringe. He is a dishonest Republican operative and Christian nationalist. Rubio was the keynote speaker at another Florida Family Policy Council event “honoring” Mad Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Florida has a very diverse population. Why is Rubio concerned with one segment of its citizenry? It smacks of Christian Privilege.

Rubio has an obligation to reach out to his entire constituency. When did Christian leaders become some sort of elite? Why did they deserve a special briefing? Why did he not do an online town hall? Why is he so insensitive to people who are not ultra-conservative Christians?

Some of what Rubio reportedly said was worthwhile. We are plagued by people who either assert that COVID-19 is the end of civilization and those who claim that it is nothing more serious than a common cold.

Rubio reportedly made a point of saying that this was not like the bubonic plague with the potential to wipe out a third of the world’s population. On the other hand:

But it’s still a very significant global event and I think that, to the extent that we believe that the U.S. media — somebody may believe that the U.S. media is overblowing it — but that doesn’t explain why virtually every other country in the world is taking extraordinary measures.

On one hand that is somewhat balanced. Why, however, did he have to call into question the legitimacy of the media?

Then the god-talk:

It’s a reminder that we are advanced creatures because we’re created in the image of God, but we’re not God. There are still things—despite all the tools we’ve invented and all the advances we’ve made in science—there are still things in the world that we can’t control.


It’s an enormous challenge that I think the church has a very important role to play in because right now people are scared,…

The best thing that religious institutions can do is to stop services and to separate faith from scientific fact. Note that Rubio did not say “churches, synagogues and mosques.” He confined this to Christian appeal.

If people are scared they can be calmed with truthful information about how to prevent the spread of the virus. Nothing — nothing — has a higher failure rate than prayer. If it ever succeeds it is by remarkable coincidence.

If Rubio had opted to address all Floridians in a meaningful way then he should have surrounded himself with medical experts, not clerics. We are not Iran. At least not yet. The Christian mullahs are more likely to mislead adherents than to guide them according to the best medical advice.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.