ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who is currently running for re-election in the Senate, told evangelicals on Friday that to love their homosexual neighbor, they “must abandon a spirit of judgment.”
Rubio, a Roman Catholic, made his remarks on Friday during an event hosted by the Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project in Orlando. He reiterated his belief that marriage should only be defined as the union of a man and a woman, but said that Christians shouldn’t be so hard on those who identify as homosexual.
“To love our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that even as we stand firm in the belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman, there are those in that community and in same-sex relationships whose love for one another is real, and who feel angry and humiliated that the law did not recognize their relationship as a marriage,” Rubio said.
“To love our neighbors, we must recognize that many have experienced sometimes severe condemnation and judgment from some Christians,” he continued. “They have heard some say that the reason God will bring condemnation on America is because of them. As if somehow, God was willing to put up with adultery and gluttony, and greed and pride, but now, this is the last straw.”
Rubio said that loving homosexuals means to stop judging them.
“To love our neighbors, we must abandon a spirit of judgment. Do not judge or you will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged. And with a measure you use it will be used to measure you. And we should remember not to ignore the plank in our own eye,” he stated, citing text from Matthew 7.
“I want to be clear with you: Abandoning judgment and loving our LGBT neighbors is not a betrayal of what the Bible teaches. It is a fulfillment of it,” Rubio declared. “Jesus showed us that we do not have to endorse what people do in order to accept them for who they are—children of a loving and a merciful God.”
He pointed to how Jesus pardoned the woman caught in adultery, and said that some homosexuals “deeply desire to come to Christ, but they do not because they fear they will be shunned and rejected by some.”
“If any of us, myself included, in any way, have ever made anyone feel that Christianity wants nothing to do with them, then I believe deeply that we have failed deeply to represent our Lord Jesus Christ who time and again went out of his way to reach out to the marginalized and to the forgotten of his time,” Rubio said.
But others have stated that while Christians should certainly not be demeaning toward homosexuals, it is not love to leave a person in their sin. Love is sharing the gospel with the lost and helping to turn them from darkness to light.
“We don’t have to be unkind to them or hateful or smearing—I don’t think that’s the right approach—but we do have to be steadfast in our doctrine and in our belief when it comes to their practice,” Dr. Paul Michael Raymond, pastor of Reformed Bible Church and professor at New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy in Appomattox, Virginia told Christian News Network in a separate report.
“We out-and-out say, ‘No, I’m sorry, this is against God’s law and I pray that you see the error of your ways,’ but we cannot have real intimate fellowship with [them] or tolerate sin,’” he said.
“What is love? How is it defined?” Raymond asked. “If you really love me, you will not let me continue in a path of destruction. You will do everything within your power to keep me out of the evil way.”
He provided an example of love between a parent and a child.
“If I have a child, and that child is getting ready to run out into traffic, I am going to do everything within my power to protect that child,” Raymond said.