Marco Rubio's Insufferable, Preening Religiosity

Categories: Politics, Religion
Ave Maria Law School, where Marco Rubio delivered a commencement address on May 15, was founded in 1999 by Catholic fanatic Tom Monaghan and a few fellow papists from Michigan. That this is an explicitly, in-your-face religious school rather loosened Marco's tongue, so that each time he said something truly lovely -- such as

Ultimately, you will find that life is not about what the world defines as happiness. In fact, what you're really striving for is peace... Peace [is] the ability to take anything that comes your way and see the good in it. Peace is the ability to be happy in both good times and in bad. When you have pain and when you have joy. The ability to be happy with great disappointment and great triumph.

-- he undercut it with something foolish, such as


And that peace will never come from any person, any job, or anything you do. It's supernatural and will require your complete reliance on God to achieve it.

There's something lovely about this commingling of the sublime with the batshit, perhaps because it evokes an era of illusory but sweet unity, when someone could express such sentiments and imagine he wasn't gravely insulting half his listeners on C-Span. Forty years ago, I'm sure nobody would have hastened to point out that the peace to which Rubio refers was well-known to Buddhists and Stoics long before anybody thought to invent Rubio's god.

But let's point it out, because Rubio really does seem to believe, and want us to accept, that peace is impossible without devotion to his particular version of the Judeo-Christian deity. This was very nearly his only point during his 15-minute address.

Here's how Rubio began:

I thought I would share with you what I hope, or wish, someone would have told me 13 or 14 years ago. And it's something that I'm sharing with people like you who are very well prepared, have learned a lot academically, gone to undergrad, probably did very well in high school, did very well in your undergrad careers, spent the last three years training to be lawyers, and learn not just the law, but how to think like a lawyer -- which is a process in itself. Especially that first year, where your mind is remade to argue both sides of any issue. And, and -- so you're well prepared for your career. And the one tip I can give you, the one that I wish I had more fully embraced 14 or 15 years ago, when I began embarking on my career -- not just as a lawyer but interest in public service and in life in general -- is this, and it's pretty simple: You cannot do anything without God. It's a profound and elemental truth. Not, you cannot do most things without God. You will not be able to do anything that you want, truly, in fulfillment, without God.
Hearing this, three responses immediately spring to mind. Unfortunately, the first involves the lone expletive I'm not allowed to use on this blog.

The second is: Quick! Somebody tell the Danes!
EuropeanBelief.png
Belief in God in Europe, 2005 Census

Because when I think about "anything that I want, truly, in fulfillment," I think about living in a civil, sane, and tolerant society. I think about prosperity, about the availability of medicine, and about education -- the ability to be educated and to surround myself with people who've got a freaking clue. And I think about economic security. And if those things are impossible without "God," I wonder how to make sense of the map at right, which compares the number of atheists in various European countries. (The lighter the country is, the fewer people believe in gods.) Unless I'm badly misjudging the desires of the human soul, "God" has made far more things possible for the disbelieving Swedes, Dutch, and Danes than for the pious Spaniards and Portuguese. I wonder: Could it be that the Danes are lying when they're polled about their contentedness? Or are their brains so befoggled by secular humanist nonsense that they don't even know how miserable they are?

My third reaction takes a bit more explanation. Perusing Ave Maria's website some months ago, I noticed that they have institutionalized belief in "natural law." That's "natural," as opposed to "positivist." Proponents of natural law theory believe that there is an objective moral order to the universe and that it may be divined using reason. Remembering this, and hearing Marco Rubio's speech, called to mind the modern giant of natural law theory, Thomas Hobbes, who tried to simplify matters with his "Nineteen [Natural] Laws," the tenth of which reads:

That at the entrance into the conditions of peace, no man require to reserve himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest.

Failure to make such reservations, in Hobbes' view, was the definition of arrogance, and I think that's an idea upon which Rubio would do well to meditate. I don't doubt that he knows what it takes to make himself happy, and he may even know what makes Mrs. Rubio happy -- and the above video aside, it's not inconceivable that he might have a few worthwhile bits of advice to share with a bunch of fresh-faced young lawyers. But for a leader of a religious polyglot people to stand before a camera and to say the people who pay his bills will never have peace until they come around to his side in a theological debate is cruel, stupid, and pompous.


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22 comments
Aram Karibian
Aram Karibian

Nothing in your article approaches in interest or profundity Rubio's address.  He is clearly your moral and intellectual superior.  That is what you find insufferable.  Plus, he's on TV!

Samsam431
Samsam431

No one cares that you are an atheist, you're an offensive and combative atheist, and yes your sort is a despised MINORITY. God still loves you :)

Religious
Religious

He's expressing his shared beliefs with the students...I don't see anything wrong with that. Be an atheist, it's your right, but don't put someone down for his beliefs. You undercut your own credibility and intelligence with an article like this.

Dr_augusta
Dr_augusta

Brandon,

Get down off your 6 inch soapbox. Rubio was not addressing the world, not addressing the audience of C-span, not really even talking to you. He was speaking to a Catholic Law school graduating class. Rubio was speaking to his "peeps". And surprise, surprise they WANTED to hear what he was saying. Get over yourself. Not every one sees the world thru your sparkly pink glasses.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Throughout recorded history, more wars and genocides have been committed in the name of religion than for any other reason.

And that is the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Boca Condo King
Boca Condo King

Papists?  If one day I am half as successful as Tom Monaghan (founder Domino's Pizza sold it for one million owned the Detroit tigers etc.) and I choose to fund a law school (and rebuild churches in countries after earthquakes along with other charities, etc..)  Will I be called a Kike if the school is not to your liking?

Better look down and check your fly, your prejudice and contempt for others is showing...  and all it tells the world is how small it (and you) are.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

I never understood why folks take offense at my atheism -- in the end, don't get pissed at me because I don't believe in your make-believe-friend.   I also don't believe in the Easter Bunny, low priced exotic dancers, and all you can eat sushi.

I met a person the other night who informed me "god must exist" because "the moon orbits the Earth and doesn't come crashing into the seas."   My suggestion of putting down the Bible and picking up a book explaining orbital mechanics fell on deaf ears.

As part of the most despised minority in the U.S., I have absolutely no hesitation in not giving a true believer a god-damn inch (your man's name in vain there) and taking them to task for their ignorant supercilious boorish attitudes and insulting remarks.

Just demonstrate to me proof of a higher power's existence -- one that is not based on "personal experience", or even worse, your faith in Kris Kringle.   I don't care that God talks to you, he also "spoke to" Anthony Hardy -- the Camden (UK) serial killer.

If having strange voices in your head proves the existence of God, then what about the time I once took too much acid in college and spoke to pink elephants?   Do you see me wearing the Pope's hat?

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

"Sparkly pink glasses". Nice job, Augusta. Did you learn gay bashing in Jesus school?

What does being gay have to do with being an agnostic or an atheist? I'm heterosexual and I share Brandon's views on organized religion.

P.S. When a U.S. Senator gives a speech in public, he is speaking to the world.

Aram Karibian
Aram Karibian

Only if you mean the religions of national socialism and communism.

Hellvis
Hellvis

for once I agree with you

Dr_augusta
Dr_augusta

Virgil, you are not wound up as   your usual style. You must have gotten "some".

Chancedebris
Chancedebris

Blind belief is the gateway drug for the 7 deadly sins. Have not you true belivers screwed  up the world enough? The three big monothistic religions came from the same place, and non of them are worth a fart in a mitten.

Respect
Respect

You aren't disliked because you're an atheist.  Nobody really cares about that.  You are despised because you show no respect for others who have different believes.  It is the same form of dilike I have for religious types who try to impose their views on me.  What we believe is deeply personal.  Respect should be given to that.  Do you know what respect is?   

Dr_augusta
Dr_augusta

Virgil, hmm....but it is okay with Christian bashing? get real...just because you agree with the author, doesn't mean he's right.get over yourself.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Here we go with the respect thingy. I have to respect your beliefs? Wrong. Try another word, such as tolerate. If it is personal ,keep it personal, then I won't have to conflict with your beliefs and "respect" them. When elected officials start sermonizing their "beliefs", they have crossed a line.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

You must mistake me for someone that gives a fuck about what you think or feel.

When you start making the news, and not merely commenting anonymously on the news that I am making, then perhaps I might just, emphasis on the word might, give a rat's ass about you. However I would not hold my breath.

I'm on the radio. I'm in the national press. I am soon to be on TV. And you?

Stop hiding behind your monitor, come out from Trollville, and man up. Or woman up. See it's easy for me not to respect you, for just because of this.

Hellvis
Hellvis

yes we know your on TV,, youve posted that 50 times now..   so are you gonna wear a doo rag or backwards baseball crap? I suggest a white skipper cap, like Mr Howell, and Im being serious.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

SamSam.

How touching... Chaz Stevens is personally responsible for the decline of Western Civilization.

Reading your dribble reminded me of something Oscar Wilde wrote 100 years ago. Goes something like this -- "There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community." Apparently you don't pick up the newspaper, because if you did, you would have read the front page of the Miami Herald where they profiled (on two pages) my work to have three local corrupt elected officials arrested and removed from office. If that's not making the news by making news, I don't know what is. You ever get a cover story on a Sunday national newspaper? Booking blotter and pedophilia related incidents excluded that is... If by megaphone, you mean the fact my blog is on track to hit 600,000 visitors this years, then yes, I have a megaphone. A big one. Who takes me seriously? The fellows over the Broward State Attorney's Office who, during the recent felony corruption trial of former Commissioner Steve Gonot, not only mentioned my good work a bunch of times, but also reopened the case because of intel I sent to them midstream. The folks at HUD. People up at the FDLE. Shall I continue? Drop me an email and I'll drop you some names that you can verify. Finally, my work battling local corruption isn't a red/blue/purple issue. Hell, I am a Socialist and I get along swimmingly with Joyce Kaufman (who definitely isn't a Socialist). What does that say? Says your argument doesn't hold water. Now be a good wanker, return your computer back to Walgreens and stop stealing your neighbor's WiFi. Chaz Stevens, Activist MyActsOfSedition.com

Samsam431
Samsam431

That's the thing you're trying to "make" news about nothing, rather than "reporting" on real news, How about the national debt crisis? You think you are so much more important than anyone else because someone gives you a megaphone for your offensive and already-loud opinions. It's people like you that are responsible for the decline of journalism in this country. At least have a little respect for others, profanity isn't going to make anyone take you seriously, except maybe the angry liberals who already agree with you.

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