Is Marco Rubio Catholic or evangelical? Does it matter?

The U.K Telegraph's religion writer takes issue with Florida senator-elect Marco Rubio's faith identity. Commenting from across the pond, Damian Thompson says that Rubio is not Catholic.

Rubio attends and gives a substantial amount of money to Christ Fellowship Church, which is nondenominational, but he identifies as Roman Catholic (here's the Politics Daily article Thompson references). Thompson wonders why he doesn't own up to being an evangelical, implying that he is deceiving conservative Catholic supporters who admire him.

Does it matter where he worship or with what faith he identifies? Are we Americans just more comfortable with religious ambiguity?

Politically it might seem a little odd. Is he trying to win favor both among Catholic and evangelical camps? It seems to me, though, that there is enough friendliness between the two churches that conservatives of both churches would support each other, just liberals of the two churches would support each other.

But if it doesn't mean much politically, perhaps it should mean something to the church. Why would someone who identifies as Catholic "leave" the church for a nondenominational church?

Thompson claims (with what evidence, I'm not sure) that Rubio's departure is "typical of many wealthy Hispanics: the Catholic Church is fast losing the loyalty of this community, thanks in part to the dreariness of its worship and a left-wing political stance that nurtures a culture of grievance rather than enterprise."

I'm not sure he's got it right, but it would good for the church to understand why Rubio has been attending a nondenominational church instead of a Catholic one for the last six years. Maybe it's simple–his wife might not be Catholic–or maybe there are bigger issues at play. But the fact is, he's still holding onto his Catholic identity. Is that enough?

About the author

Megan Sweas

Megan Sweas is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.