WASHINGTON — A prominent professing atheist group has sent a letter to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, urging him to stop sharing Bible verses on his official Twitter account, which they say violates the separation of Church and State.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent the letter on Aug. 22, noting that Rubio has tweeted over 60 Scriptures in the past three months. It asserted Rubio is violating the Constitution since he is posting the messages on what the group perceives as being a government-related account, not a private and personal account focusing on his home and family life.
“[I]t is not for the government in our secular republic to promote one religious book over others or to promote religion over nonreligion. Doing so violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” wrote FFRF’s director of strategic response, Andrew Seidel.
“When it comes to violations of the Establishment Clause, i.e., the government endorsing religion, appearances matter. Government officials cannot appear to endorse Christianity,” he asserted. “In this instance, by tying your government title to a social media page, you have intimately entwined your official position with the messages you send on that platform, creating the appearance of official endorsement.”
Even though Rubio has a separate press office account, FFRF believes the @MarcoRubio account can still be considered a government-related account because “the Bible tweets appear to be tied to your identity as a government actor and were facilitated by the apparent authority of that office. The tweets arise out of public, not personal, circumstances. The account is used to keep constituents informed of the activities of Marco Rubio the senator, not Marco Rubio the private citizen and family man.”
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14:27,” Rubio, a Roman Catholic, tweeted on May 16.
“The eyes of the Lord watch over the knowledgeable, but He defeats the projects of the faithless. Proverbs 22:12,” he shared on June 22.
“As face mirrors face in water, so the heart reflects the person. Proverbs 27:19,” he tweeted on July 27.
FFRF is therefore asking Rubio to stop tweeting Bible verses and to delete the Scriptures that he has posted thus far. If he does not wish to do so, the group said, then he should rather remove any government affiliation with the account.
“The simplest solution is to stop tweeting Bible verses or any other religious endorsements and delete those previously tweeted. If you cannot refrain from using social media to promote your personal religion, then all traces of the public office should be removed from the @MarcoRubio account,” Seidel stated.
He claimed that Jesus told Christians not to engage in public prayer and that the prohibition also relates to “public piety.”
“If the law and your oath to uphold the Constitution are not sufficient to convince you to stop, perhaps you might consider reading Matthew 6:5-6, in which Jesus condemns public prayer as hypocrisy in his Sermon on the Mount,” FFRF contended. “None of Jesus’s supposed words mentions Twitter—perhaps he wasn’t that prescient—but the condemnation of public piety is reasonably clear.”
Rubio appears to have decided to ignore FFRF as he continues to post Scripture to the account, even to this day.
On March 23, 1798, John Adams, the second president of the United States called for a day of national repentance, prayer and fasting.
“[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed,” he wrote.
James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, similarly called for a national day of prayer on July 9, 1812.
“I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering the Sovereign of the universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness and His assistance in the great duties of repentance…”