MSNBC Host Tees Up Pelosi to Question Rubio’s Catholic Faith

Wrapping up a live interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday’s MSNBC Live, anchor Thomas Roberts invited the left-wing congressional leader to attack Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio: “...we have the sound from the interview that Marco Rubio gave, where he painted a pretty broad brush in a characterization about those for and against marriage equality. Take a listen.”

A clip played of Rubio arguing: “We are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater....the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech.”

Roberts followed: “Do you agree with that? As you just talked about, your grandkids go to Catholic school.”

Pelosi predictably denounced Rubio:

I thoroughly disagree, being raised in a Catholic family, raising a Catholic family, mainstream Catholic – well, the Baltimore catechism, to get back to our hometown of Baltimore, was what we were raised on. And I think that this statement by Senator Rubio is most unfortunate. It's a polarizing statement. The fact is, is that what we're taught was to respect people in our faith and to say that this endangers mainstream Christian thinking is so completely wrong.

And, again, it's polarizing and I would hope that – perhaps he believes what he says, and I assume that he does – but I hope that we can persuade him differently because the country is going in a completely different direction now. And it's very, very exciting.

She concluded her rant by presuming to speak for the Vatican: “I don’t even think that Pope Francis would subscribe to what Marco Rubio just said.”

Roberts began the final portion of the interview by gushing over Pelosi’s activism on gay marriage:

I want to talk about something that I know is very close to your political heart both professionally and personally, and that is your fight for equality for the LGBT community. Last night you were honored, it was a great honor that you received here in New York City....from the Victory Fund. And you said you wanted your grandkids there why?

Pelosi replied by framing the issue as something any good Catholic would support:

Well, it's really important for them to see what the practice of our faith is, the dignity and respect that we have for all people and that equality – marriage equality is important. They’ve been hearing this their whole life. They go to Catholic school and this is consistent with the dignity and worth we attribute to every person.     

Roberts and Pelosi seemed completely unaware that they had proved Rubio’s point by suggesting any commitment to traditional Catholic teaching was “unfortunate” and “polarizing.”

    

Here is a full transcript of the May 29 exchange:

2:53 PM ET

THOMAS ROBERTS: And we have been speaking through this last half hour with our special guest, the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. And before we let the Leader go, I want to talk about something that I know is very close to your political heart both professionally and personally, and that is your fight for equality for the LGBT community.

Last night you were honored, it was a great honor that you received here in New York City, we can show the picture of you with your grandkids and I think Tim Gunn, where you received your honor – there it is – last night from the Victory Fund. And you said you wanted your grandkids there why?

REP. NANCY PELPOSI [D-CA]: Well, it's really important for them to see what the practice of our faith is, the dignity and respect that we have for all people and that equality – marriage equality is important. They’ve been hearing this their whole life. They go to Catholic school and this is consistent with the dignity and worth we attribute to every person.

ROBERTS: And meanwhile, we have the sound from the interview that Marco Rubio gave, where he painted a pretty broad brush in a characterization about those for and against marriage equality. Take a listen.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO [R-FL]: We are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what's the next step after that? After they’re done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. And that's a real and present danger.

ROBERTS: Do you agree with that?

PELOSI: No.

ROBERTS: As you just talked about, your grandkids go to Catholic school.

PELOSI: I thoroughly disagree, being raised in a Catholic family, raising a Catholic family, mainstream Catholic – well, the Baltimore catechism, to get back to our hometown of Baltimore, was what we were raised on. And I think that this statement by Senator Rubio is most unfortunate. It's a polarizing statement. The fact is, is that what we're taught was to respect people in our faith and to say that this endangers mainstream Christian thinking is so completely wrong.

And, again, it's polarizing and I would hope that – perhaps he believes what he says, and I assume that he does – but I hope that we can persuade him differently because the country is going in a completely different direction now. And it's very, very exciting. I don’t even think that Pope Francis would subscribe to what Marco Rubio just said.

ROBERTS: Well, we are waiting to hear what the Supreme Court is going to say coming up with their decision – or that we expect coming out in June when it comes to marriage equality in this country. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, so great to have you.

PELOSI: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Thanks for giving up a half an hour of your time to be with us, we really appreciate it. So, thank you.

PELOSI: Thank you, Thomas.

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