The Christian Post invited all the presidential candidates of both major parties to answer the same set of 12 questions. Here are Marco Rubio's answers.
1. Why do you want to be president and what does your personal faith have to do with your decision?
My faith has everything to do with my decision to run for President — it is the single greatest influence in my life. My faith teaches me that the most important job I will ever have is that of a husband and a father. It teaches me that I have an obligation to care for the less fortunate. And now, my faith compels me to do everything in my power to make sure that we preserve the principles that have made this country great.
I am also running for President because while America doesn't owe me anything, I have a debt to America I will never fully repay. America changed the very history of my family. It provided me with opportunities that would have been unthinkable anywhere else in the world.
There has never been a country like America. A country founded on the principle that our rights come from God, not from government. A country in which we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator, and in which every human life, at every stage of life, is sacred. But we did not become an exceptional nation by accident. For over two centuries, each generation before us did what they needed to do to make this the greatest nation on earth. And now, at a time when too many people are wondering what will come of our long-held values and whether the American Dream is still possible, the time has come for our generation to do its part.
2. What is marriage, and what should be the government's interest and role in marriage?
The institution of marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It is imperative that our laws are based on a true understanding of marriage because marriage is the foundation of family life and of society.
You cannot have a strong nation without strong people, and you cannot have strong people without strong values. Values are taught and instilled by the family. Government can never replace that. Under President Obama, the government has undermined the family. That must change.
3. When a U.S. government law or action unintentionally infringes upon the religious freedom of one or some of its citizens, should the government accommodate those beliefs by providing exemptions to that law or action, and, if so, what would be your recommended standard for providing the exemption?
Religious freedom is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Constitution and long defended by Americans from both political parties. Laws are required to respect religious conscience and to accommodate religious believers living out the teaching of their faith. President Obama has, unfortunately, broken that bipartisan consensus, but I will restore it.
But faith deserves more than "accommodation" and "respect." It is something to be celebrated. From the founding to abolitionism to the civil rights movement to the pro-life movement, religious people have been witnesses for moral truth. Faith has shaped the soul of America. And as president I will support the right of our people not just to hold traditional views, but to exercise them, to express them.
4. What actions should the president take, and should urge the international community to take, to aid and protect those who are persecuted for their faith around the world?
Today, there is far too little attention paid to the millions of people around the world who are being persecuted simply because of their faith. As Americans we enjoy many blessings, and with those blessings comes a duty to stand on the side of the oppressed. That's why I have worked with leaders in the faith community for the successful re-authorization of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body tasked with monitoring religious freedom abroad and making recommendations to the president and Congress. Unfortunately, this President and State Department have failed to display the moral clarity necessary to fight religious persecution around the world.
The next President can — and should — do more to protect those persecuted for following their faith. I will responsibly focus the resources provided through of the United States' humanitarian efforts to support and protect those fleeing religious persecution. I will be unafraid to send a clear message to the world by meeting with embattled groups, like Middle Eastern Christians and the Falun Gong. And I will speak out for the fundamental right of religious freedom.
5. Under what conditions should current unauthorized immigrants in the United States be allowed to make restitution for their crime and apply for legal status or citizenship? How would you secure the border and the workplace?
We are a sovereign country, with a right to have immigration laws and to enforce them. And when I am President we will. I know first-hand that enforcing our immigration laws is not anti-immigrant.
Sanctuary cities will lose their federal funding, and criminal aliens will be immediately deported. We will secure the border, and hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents. We will finish all 700 miles of the Border wall and add over $4 billion dollars of cameras and sensors to detect unlawful crossings. We will have a mandatory E-Verify system for employers. And we will implement an entry-exit tracking system to stop visa overstays.
We will start with one simple principle: If we can't be 100% certain who you are or why you are coming, you're not getting into the country. And when I am president, there will be no amnesty.
Once we've secured the border, we must modernize our legal immigration system. Legal immigration should be based on what you can contribute economically, not whether you have a relative living here.
After the border is proven to be secure and legal immigration has been updated, I believe the American people will be reasonable about how to address the more than twelve million people currently here illegally.
6. Should the federal government devote resources to encouraging all states to adopt the same set of education standards, such as Common Core?
No. Common Core has been used by the Obama administration to turn the Department of Education into a national school board. This effort to coerce states into adhering to national curriculum standards is not the best way to help our children attain the best education, and it must be stopped.
Instead, we should focus on empowering states, local communities, and most importantly parents. After all, if parents are unhappy with a local or state school board's decisions, they can go to their board and get it changed. No such option exists if decisions are being made about education in Washington.
As president I will prohibit federal mandates on curriculum or standards for states and local educational agencies, and on my first day in office I will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to stop any and all activity related to implementing or enforcing Common Core.