The personal faith of presidential candidates is always a matter of curiosity, and both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump revealed the depth of their own beliefs this week.
Donald Trump appeared at Liberty University on Monday, and put on a display that was nothing less than embarrassing. The man is completely uncomfortable discussing God and the Bible, because he doesn't have a genuine religious faith, except that he probably believes himself to be a kind of American messiah. I don't even care that he said "Two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians". But when it comes to actual matters of faith, he's shown himself to be unserious. At Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, Jr. compared Trump to both MLK and Jesus, which was completely absurd. Of course, Trump was glowing after that comparison, but such a comparison is sickening. Comparing Trump to Jesus? Donald is a fallible man who doesn't believe in asking for forgiveness.
It was apparent in an interview last Sunday that Trump does not consider himself to be in need of grace:
After months of reflection, Donald Trump says he still doesn't regret his decision not to ask God for forgiveness for his sins.
In an interview on Sunday with CNN, the Republican presidential frontrunner said that he does not regret never asking God for forgiveness, partially because he says he doesn't have much to apologize for.
"I like to be good. I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don't do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad."
It is clear that Donald believes he is a man without fault, and presents himself as such.
A wonderful thing about America is the freedom to do what you want, go where you please, and believe, or not believe, as you wish. Arguably, the Right seems to be more in tune with faith than the Left. Sure, there are religious and non-religious on both sides, but social conservatism is often-times a result of a faith-based worldview. Not always, but quite often. I don't have a problem with Trump's obvious lack of real, genuine faith. What gets me is his pretense of faith, and the fawning over him that those at Liberty, and elsewhere, do. It is nothing short of sickening. It's a complete embarrassment to those who are rooted in faith, and an example of counterfeit to those who consider themselves non-religious.
A portion of his response to Justin Scott, the atheist activist who questioned him:
"If you don't believe the Judeo-Christian values influenced America, you don't know history. I am not saying you, I am just saying in general. This nation was founded on the principle that our rights come from our Creator," Rubio said. "If there is no creator, then where did your rights come from? That's why it is important for us to understand that and we are going to protect the rights of Americans to continue to believe that."
"We are also going to have a country where no one is forced to violate their conscience, which means that no one is going to force you to believe in God. But, no one is going to force me to stop talking about God," Rubio asserted. "I am not going to force you to pray. I am not going to force you to go to church. I am not going to force you to espouse beliefs that you don't have. But, no one is going to take away my right and your right to live out the teachings of your faith — no one.
"You shouldn't be worried about my faith influencing me. In fact, I think you should hope my faith influences me and here's why. You know what my faith teaches me? My faith teaches me that I have an obligation to care for the less fortunate. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation to love my neighbor. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation for those who are hungry to help try to feed them; for those that are naked, to help clothe them," Rubio said. "My faith teaches me that I have an obligation that I need to minister to those in prison. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation that if I want to serve Jesus that I have to serve [others]. I think you should hope that influences me."
Religious faith is not a requirement for public office, but Trump feigns religious sincerity just for the sake of crowds that love him and how he makes them feel. Rubio's response to someone directly challenging his faith was an example of, I believe, a genuine, continued influence upon his life. To the religious and non-religious alike, authenticity should be an important part of candidate selection.