Thursday’s Fox News Republican Debate may have lacked Donald Trump, but it more than made up for it with some refreshing moments of political discourse, the high point being John Kasich’s bold call to help the mentally ill.
And then there were the low points. Among the lowest was Marco Rubio’s exploitation of religious belief for political gain:
In this exchange we learn that Marco Rubio is uncomfortable being called the potential “savior” of the Republican party. But why? Is Rubio unaware that one can acknowledge Jesus as the “savior” (i.e. “a person who saves, rescues, or delivers“) of the human race and fallen creation whilst recognizing that other persons can also be saviors with respect to other entities?
For example, in the 1980s Lee Iacocca’s savvy business sense saved Chrysler from bankruptcy. In that respect, one can describe Iaccoca as the savior of Chrysler. And a few weeks ago actor Jamie Foxx saved Brett Kyle from a fiery car wreck. In that respect, one can describe Foxx as Kyle’s savior. Neither of these declarations has any adverse theological implications. Nor, for that matter, would it be theologically problematic to call Rubio the savior of the GOP.
I suspect Rubio is aware of this fact. And this leaves me to conclude that his response in this exchange was nothing more than a willful misunderstanding of the question intended to pander to a conservative religious constituency. And along the way he also succeeded in marginalizing the vast tracts of the electorate who are not Christian.
But those concerns must be put to one side because a strong showing in evangelical Iowa is the current focus of Rubio’s strategy. Good short term strategy for a stronger showing in Iowa? Perhaps. But savior of the GOP? I think not.