9/11, Paris attacks all part of God's plan - Rubio

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Marco Rubio © Mark Kauzlarich
God has a plan for the universe and it includes the September 11, 2001 and Paris terror attacks, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said, adding that Christians are “biblically ordered not to be afraid.”

Speaking recently on the campaign trail in Iowa, the first state to hold presidential primaries, Rubio said he has been asked "Where was God on 9/11? Where was God in Paris?"

"I said, 'where God always is — on the throne in Heaven,'" Rubio explained, according to The Christian Post. "The question was how could God allow these bad things to happen? It always challenges us to understand that God's ways are not our ways."

He added: "What we may interpret as bad, and most certainly is in the case of Paris or 9/11, even that is part of a broader plan for the universe and for our lives that we are just not going to know the answer to. God's ways are not our ways."

Rubio said doubting one's Christian faith when a problem arises is common, and that God's plan is what doubters should remember.

"We are biblically ordered not to be afraid," Rubio said. "You know why? Because God is telling us that no matter what happens, 'It is part of my plan. I will give you the strength to endure it whether you like it or not.'"

Rubio went on to add that the only thing Christians "are promised is adversity," and that "none of us are promised prosperity."

"We are told you will be discriminated against, hated, you will be persecuted," he said. "Obviously, we are fortunate to live in a country where the persecution is relative compared to other parts of the world."

Last week, Rubio spoke to the Christian Broadcasting Network, again touting his bona fides for the religious right in America, a powerful voting bloc in the Republican Party. Speaking of his opposition to same-sex marriage, Rubio suggested Christians have a moral obligation to fight against any government authority that sanctions such a union, a supposed violation of God's rules.

"If you look at biblical lessons, the first thing is we are clearly called in the Bible to adhere to our civil authorities, but that conflicts with our requirement to adhere to God’s rules, and so when those two come in conflict, God’s rules always win," he said.  

"In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God’s law and sin, if we’re ordered to stop preaching the gospel, if we are ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot abide by that cause government is compelling us to sin."

In response to Rubio's comments, blogger Andrew Bradford of Liberal America said he fails to see the Christian attitude in Rubio's positions.

"No, God’s ways are most certainly not your ways, Senator Rubio, or the ways of your political party," he wrote. "God calls for humility, compassion, love for one’s fellow man, sacrifice on the behalf of others, caring for the least among us, and not casting stones at others because we are all sinners."

On Twitter, the response was even harsher.

Rubio also told CBN that abortion rights should not necessarily be afforded to victims of rape or incest, but only in instances in which a woman's life is at risk.

"That is not a majority position even in the Republican Party but I just don’t feel that this is a political issue, I really don’t," he said.

Rubio is currently a distant third in the running for the Republican presidential nomination, after Donald Trump and Ben Carson, according to Real Clear Politics' analysis of polling data.