WASHINGTON – United States senators speaking at a major social conservative gathering Friday spoke openly about their Christian faith, including about Jesus Christ, God, their conversion story and even miracles.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida spoke to those gathered at the Values Voter Summit about the need for Christians and social conservatives to be open about their views. "I believe Jesus Christ is God," said Rubio, eliciting extensive cheers and applause from the audience. "I respect the rights of those who do not share my beliefs, but to teach my faith to my children and to share it with anyone who will listen – that is my right too."
Rubio also stated that he believed while many of the attendees were troubled by recent events such as the 2012 presidential election, those present "cannot give up on America." "You cannot give up on the American dream. We cannot allow our fears and our disappointments to lead us into silence and into inaction," said Rubio.
"I believe with all my heart that God still destines for us an even better future and the opportunity to continue to serve as an inspiration to the world."
Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who was sworn in earlier this year after a term in the House of Representatives, spoke about his faith experience. After quoting some lyrics from the hymn Amazing Grace, Scott spoke about when as a college student he had come to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. "Those words never meant more to me than on September the 22nd, 1983. I was on a little college football scholarship at Presbyterian College and they had this thing called the FCA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes," said Scott. "I remember walking down the aisle and I got down on my knees as a person who is so selfish, but when I rose back up the Lord had become the Master of my life."
Adding that he had "never been the same" since that day of decision, Scott tied his personal experience to the broader issue of the nation. "I have good news for all of us: God is not finished with me yet and God is not finished with you yet. But perhaps the best news is God is not finished with America yet," said Scott.
Scott also spoke about his belief in miracles, telling those gathered about a severe car accident he was in as a teenager and he believes a "miracle-working God" saved him that day. "I'm a big believer that even in the midst of a storm, the Word works…I believe God has a unique call on America and I believe that we survive the storm that we're in," said Scott. "It's not going to be easy. But you see I've been through crisis, I think most of you have been crisis."
In addition to Rubio and Scott, other senators who spoke that morning included Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The annual event is sponsored by multiple conservative organizations, including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and the Media Research Center.
The morning plenary marked the opening events of the Values Voter Summit, which included an invocation from the Rev. Pierre Bynum, presentation of colors by the ALERT Cadet Program, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and welcoming remarks from Tony Perkins, president of the FRC.
"The government may be shut down, but the Values Voter Summit is open and we're ready to do business," said Perkins. "It's time we let [President Barack Obama] know that no one is going to keep the voice of the American Family from being heard in our nation today."