Of all the 2016 Republican presidential candidates who might have done this, he definitely wasn't the one I would have expected. Apparently, in preparation for the second GOP debate, Marco Rubio drew a cross next to his name on the tape indicating which podium is his. If you had told me Mike Huckabee did this, I'd figure that of course he did. Ted Cruz? Duh. Rick Santorum? You bet. But I guess Rubio just doesn't particularly scream "super religious!!" to me. Clearly, I was wrong. Religion — well, Christianity — is generally a staple in the Republican candidates' platforms, and it seems that Rubio's not so different.
Rubio, who is Catholic, has had a long journey discovering his faith, as his memoir details. He started out being baptized in a Catholic church, and then was briefly Mormon, as his family began attending a church of Latter-Day Saints. He and his family soon returned to Catholicism when he was about 11 years old. However, in 2002, Rubio left the Catholic faith and began attending a Baptist church, though he was never baptized or registered as a member. Three years later, he finally returned again to Catholicism, where he's stayed since.
Maybe it's that long journey that makes Rubio feel he has to prove himself as a steady man of religious faith. Most of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates have been outspoken about their faith — most notably Huckabee, who has taken on the case of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis as a way to prove how devoted to religious freedom he is.
There's nothing wrong with Rubio drawing a cross next to his name on the debate podium; it just sticks out as a little odd. God was brought up at the first Republican debate as well, when a viewer awkwardly asked if the candidates had heard from the big guy up top on what to do. The other candidates who answered the question went on tangents about having received the word of God every day (Ted Cruz) or about doing the will of God (Scott Walker). But Rubio was more understated in his approach, which is maybe why this overt show of religion surprised me so much. Rubio made a joke when he said about God:
He’s blessed the Republican party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one.
So you do you, Marco Rubio. If you drew the cross in hoping that it'll give you strength to get through what's sure to be yet another debacle of the night, go for it. But if you drew it to prove that you're just as religious as the next Republican candidate, then maybe take a moment to assess what you're truly using your faith for.