In a discussion with Eric Metaxas at last year’s Florida Family Policy Council summit, Sen. Marco Rubio said that the separation of church and state is a myth, arguing that the First Amendment only precludes an “officially sanctioned denomination.”
“This notion of separation between church and state, you won’t find those words in the Constitution,” Rubio said. “That doesn’t mean that we should have an officially sanctioned denomination.”
Rubio warned that “there is an effort to silence those or to crowd out of its rightful place the role of the faith community in our country. The government cannot tell you what faith to belong to but it cannot tell you that it cannot speak about your faith.”
Of course, the Constitution also doesn’t include words like “separation of powers” and “checks and balances,” but that doesn’t mean that those principles aren’t in the Constitution.
Rubio also seems to think that the drafters of the Constitution only meant to prevent the government from sanctioning one religious denomination over another. But the founders actually rejected language about “establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another” (same with “religious society” and “national church”) in favor of the more broad First Amendment’s prohibition of the “establishment of religion.”