Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, in what looks like a bid to cement his support with social conservatives, says he doesn’t know how old the Earth really is, and that people should be free to have their own opinions.
"I'm not a scientist, man," Rubio told GQ magazine.
"I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians...I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that.
“At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says."
As Republicans critique what went wrong on Election Day, Rubio told GQ that he doesn’t think the blame should be placed on social conservatives. Some Republicans have questioned whether the party should take uncompromising stands on issues like abortion and birth control when polls show younger voters especially are more libertarian on those issues.
Rubio disputed the argument that religious traditionalism has less currency among the modern electorate.
"What I'm hearing is that it's ok for one side to express their view and the other side needs to be quiet," he said. "There are a very significant number of Americans that feel very strongly about the issue of life, about the issue of marriage and are we saying that they should be silenced or not allowed to speak or voice their opinion? There's a way to do that that is respectful and productive."
He also took issue with the idea that the GOP could win simply by opposing President Obama without offering an alternate agenda.
"There were some in politics who believed that all you had to do was be the alternative to the incumbent and you would win, but I never believed in that. I've always believed that you were better on offense than you were on defense. You were much better being for something than against someone.
“I think the bigger challenge that we face, and that we continue to face, is that we have not done a good enough job of communicating to people what conservatism is. In fact, we've allowed a myth to take hold in the minds of some that conservatism is about helping the people who have 'made it' and not about helping the people who are trying to make it."
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