Wednesday's New Day shut out social conservatives from a panel discussion on Senator Marco Rubio's Tuesday remark that "if you do not support same-sex marriage, you're labeled a homophobe and a hater," and that "the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity – the Catechism of the Catholic Church – is hate speech." Instead, the CNN morning show brought on a Republican and Democrat – Ana Navarro and Donna Brazile – who both blasted Rubio for his warning.
Navarro, who supports same-sex "marriage," had a blunt response to the Republican presidential candidate's comments: "Frankly, they made me cringe. I am very uncomfortable and disappointed with him....I just don't think this kind of rhetoric – stoking the flames – is helpful." Brazile replied to Senator Rubio by underling how it was "discouraging to hear that, somehow or another...being supportive of marriage equality is, somehow or another, an attack on religious freedom or faith." [video below]
Anchor Chris Cuomo previewed the Navarro/Brazile segment by noting the "big issue percolating for the 2016 race...is religion under attack? Are people of faith under attack? Senator Marco Rubio has just taken this to a whole new level. We'll tell you what he said, and what it means to his chances." An on-screen graphic hinted at what CNN thought of what Rubio's remarks are doing for his "chances" by wondering, "Bump In The Road For Rubio?"
Co-anchor Alisyn Camerota played the clip of the Florida senator's "hate speech" comments, and asked Navarro, "What did you think of his comments?" The socially liberal Republican strategist replied with her "made me cringe" reaction, and attacked the fringes of "both sides" of the marriage debate:
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Frankly, they made me cringe. I am very uncomfortable and disappointed with him. As you know, I support gay marriage. I support same-sex marriage. Now look, I know Marco Rubio very well. He's a friend of mine. He's a man of deep faith. He is a man who follows Catholic dogma and – you know, for whom religion is very important. But you know, I think everybody running for president – on both sides mind you – needs to keep in mind that if they're elected president, they're going to have to be the president of both folks who are on the same side – the same-sex side of the issue – and against it, the religious liberty. And we need to be a big enough country, so that we can somehow peacefully co-exist. And I just don't think this kind of rhetoric – stoking the flames – is helpful.
Navarro continued with a compliment for Pope Francis's perceived approach for handling social issues. Cuomo responded with his own kudos for the pontiff:
NAVARRO: I think we need to follow suit of what Pope Francis is doing – have a much more conciliatory, inclusive, less judgmental debate going on, and try to figure out how we can respect those who want to get married; and also, respect those who have religious liberty issues.
CHRIS CUOMO: Well, Donna, you know when you have the Pope of the Catholic Church being cited as a more secular and moderate position on an issue, you've got problems heading into it-
NAVARRO: Have you have met this pope? (laughs)
CUOMO: (laughs) I like the Pope-
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I do, too-
CUOMO: I think whether you're Catholic or not, he's saying things that resonate, because it's getting away from the restrictions and exclusions that Ana is talking about, and more towards the inclusiveness of what humanity should be about.
The liberal anchor, who is known for acting like an activist on LGBT issues, then asserted that social conservatives, including Rubio, were spinning the push for same-sex "marriage" as a campaign against Christianity. Brazile answered by echoing much of what Navarro said earlier:
CUOMO: Donna, as a political issue, Senator Rubio is a politician who was on the Christian Broadcast Network – he was preaching to the converted – that's what he was doing there. He can explain it anyway he likes, of course. But for your side, how do you deal with this issue? Because something that's supposed to be about the law and equal protection is very much being made by the right – or certain aspects of it – as being an attack on faith. What does that mean to your side?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, I believe that's a false narrative. It's not – I don't think support of same-sex marriage – marriage equality has anything to do with attacking one's faith. There are many Christians who are gay; who believe in the Lord; who preaches (sic) the gospel; who believe in what Jesus taught us – in terms of loving one another; and also, believe in John 8.
So I find it just – you know, discouraging to hear that, somehow or another, being supportive of same-sex marriage – being supportive of marriage equality is, somehow or another, an attack on religious freedom or faith. I am a woman of faith. I love the Lord. I'm Catholic. And this pope has – has done, I think, a tremendous job in trying to explain those values in ways that I do believe enhances all life – all human beings – and, of course, the gospel of love.
To her credit, Camerota followed up by asking a question that actually presented social conservatives' concern for religious freedom. However, Navarro returned to her targeting of the polarization on both sides of the issue. She continued by trumpeting Ireland's passage of same-sex "marriage" by popular vote:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: But Ana, let's talk about it from the flip side. Is there no truth to what Marco Rubio is saying – that it is so politically incorrect in this presidential race to say that you are against same-sex marriage, that there is a whiff of homophobia? I mean, is there something true about what he's saying – that he feels painted with the brush of homophobia or hatred just by saying that he stands for his own religious beliefs?
NAVARRO: You know, here's a small group of people that are getting entrenched on opposite sides of this issue. And so, what you're – there is a whiff of truth, but I do not think it is a general truth. I don't think everybody is saying – you know, look, if you don't support same-sex marriage, you're a homophobe; and I don't think everybody on the other side is saying if – you know, you're calling us all homophobes if we don't support it. I think it's – you know, groups who...just feel attacked – feel like the end of the world is coming because same-sex marriage is going to be a reality.
But we just saw, Alisyn...one of the strongest Catholic countries in the world....overwhelmingly approved same-sex marriage over the weekend – in Ireland. If the Irish, who've been at war for decades about – you know, about so many other things, can figure this out, you would think that in America, where we respect each other's rights, we could figure it out as well. And, you know, I just think there needs to be less accusations and finger-wagging going on on both sides.
It should be pointed out that as much as the anchors and guests touted Pope Francis's "approach," the most senior official at the Vatican after the Pope himself, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, condemned the Irish vote in favor of same-sex "marriage" as a "disaster for humanity." According to a Wednesday report in the Irish Times, the Vatican's spokesman later "not only confirmed that Cardinal Parolin had used these words but he also indicated that the Vatican was sticking by them, word for word."
Near the end of the segment, Cuomo repeated his contention that social conservatives were "spinning" the issue. Brazile replied by expressing her hope that the issue would just be settled to her side's favor – blanket support for the LGBT agenda across society:
CUOMO: ...[T]his issue sets up as a legal issue. It doesn't set up as a personal issue, because even if they find – the justices – that there is a right to marriage for LGBT – let alone if they find them to be a protected class – which many believe they won't – that doesn't mean that you're forced to like gay marriage. It means that it's just a right that exists.
But it's being spun, Donna, into something else – which is that, as Marco Rubio just played it up on the Christian Broadcast Network, what's next? What are they going to take from you next? Is Sunday no longer going to be a day that you get to go to church? You know, that's what it's starting to sound like.
BRAZILE: You know, I just disagree, Chris. I mean, I know – I watch and I know people of faith who happens (sic) to be gay, and they don't sit around with all of this schism. They don't sit around – you know, figuring out who's a bigot; who's a homophobe. They're trying to live their everyday lives and be in love and do what everyone else is doing – trying to make ends meet. And so, I know that everything that is in politics these days is poison – is toxic – but there's something that is so simple, so natural about two people finding each other; falling in love; wanting to spend their life together. And while we've had this debate now for over 30 years – at least throughout my political life, we've been talking about it – we're now at a point where the majority of Americans believe that – that there should be no discrimination against people, and there should be no discrimination when it comes to people being able to marry. That's the country – we've evolved – and I do believe, at some point, people will just evolve, and we don't have to have these conversations anymore.