Why I Joined Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board

Why I Joined Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board January 12, 2016

Many of you have heard that I have joined Senator Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board. Many have congratulated me; a few have denounced me!

I can imagine some readers asking, why would I join such a board for a presidential campaign? I have written often about how politics is not ultimately the answer to much of anything, and how Christians in particular should not be searching for a political messiah.

Nevertheless, politics matters. We have some exquisitely bad candidates in the 2016 field who need challenging. So when Eric Teetsel, Rubio’s Director of Faith Outreach, asked me to serve on the board, I was intrigued.

Why did I say yes? 3 reasons:

Marco Rubio speaking at the Iowa GOP’s Growth and Opportunity Party in Des Moines, Iowa on October 31, 2015. Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

1) Although my participation does not entail an endorsement, I do support Marco Rubio. Not that I agree with him on all issues (I’d go for a dash of Rand Paul on foreign policy), but I find Rubio to be thoughtful and well-spoken on the pressing matters confronting us. I also find his life story and familiarity with the ‘real world’ a refreshing contrast with many GOP candidates.

2) Academics complain all the time that people “don’t listen to us.” Professors far too often live in a cloistered world that is largely inaccessible to regular folks. When I have a chance to build bridges to non-academics, I figure I better do it. Otherwise, the voice of history is left to popularizers, some of whom are of dubious reliability. (Check out the head of Ted Cruz’s Super PAC.)

3) I knew I would be joining an extraordinary roster on the board, including pastors Rick Warren and Samuel Rodriguez, and Stanford legal scholar Michael McConnell.

Marco Rubio strikes me as a serious person who knows what it means to reach out to ‘evangelicals’ and other people of committed faith, and he is interested in listening to them. That’s good enough for me.

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