Ladies in White

Marco Rubio: Will Pope Francis visit inspire freedom in Cuba?
By Marco Rubio
Updated 2325 GMT (0625 HKT) September 18, 2015

Story highlights
Marco Rubio: As Pope Francis visits the U.S. for the first time, it is
our privilege to welcome His Holiness
I pray the Pope can use his moral authority to inspire true religious
freedom everywhere, including Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, is running for the
Republican nomination for president of the United States. He is a member
of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees. The
opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)As Pope Francis visits the United States for the very first time,
it is our privilege as Catholics and Americans to welcome His Holiness
to our country. Here, he will find people who are uniquely free.

We Americans are free to give our opinions and make our voices heard. We
work in a free enterprise economy that, for over 200 years, has lifted
countless individuals above the circumstances of their birth to achieve
their God-given potential. We have been an exceptional country because,
here, people are free to practice their faiths and worship God.

And we have enshrined in our founding documents and promoted the
fundamental truth, all around the world, that the rights of all men,
women and children — not simply Americans — come from God.?

Religious freedom is often referred to as America’s first freedom. Our
country was founded by religious exiles and built on the belief that God
has given all people certain inalienable rights. Government’s role in
society is to protect these rights and ensure that we are safe from
religious persecution and discrimination.

For centuries, faith has helped us overcome problems and helped us work
to achieve a more perfect union. It has inspired the many leaders who
played a key role in abolishing slavery, protecting civil rights and,
hopefully one day, becoming a nation where all life — from conception
to natural death — is protected.

Faith has also greatly shaped America’s role in the world. We are a
country that embodies the Bible verse from Luke chapter 12, verse 48 —
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

Our brave men and women have made many sacrifices in just wars to defeat
the forces of evil. We have exported our greatest values: freedom and
opportunity, which have lifted millions out of poverty. At home, these
values allow Americans to use their God-given potential and make their
dreams reality. For this reason, we are truly blessed, and I am excited
for Pope Francis to see this firsthand.

This month, the Pope also visits a country that is close in distance
from the United States, but far from free.

In Cuba, His Holiness won’t find a government that protects its people
and their God-given rights. Instead, he will find a regime that
oppresses people and hinders progress, both socially and politically. He
will meet with a regime that is solely responsible for the Cuban
people’s plight over the past 56 years.

He will find a place where every Sunday in the past six months — as
they’ve been doing for many years — Cuban agents are assigned to a
Catholic Church where their instructions are to beat, jail and
intimidate the Ladies In White that attend Mass and who afterwards
peacefully take to the streets calling for the release of their
husbands, sons and fathers who are political prisoners.

My hope is that the Pope’s visit to Cuba will remind all the Cuban
citizens that they possess dignity and fundamental rights that come from
God and that the Castro regime has no claim on changing what is 100%
God-given.

I pray the Pope can use his moral authority to inspire true religious
freedom, and bring us closer to the day when freedom can finally take
root on the island country; because only then will the people of Cuba
prosper and have the opportunity to live out God’s plan.

It has been seven years since the last papal visit to the United States,
and our world is rapidly changing. Now more than ever, our faith is
important. But even when we are deeply divided over important issues
facing our country and the world, “In God We Trust” for the guidance and
wisdom to do what’s both right and necessary for our Republic.

After all, it is our belief in a greater God that gives us hope each day
for a brighter future. Please join me in welcoming Pope Francis to the
United States, and helping him to spread peace and prosperity to people
around the world.

Source: Marco Rubio: Will Pope Francis inspire freedom in Cuba? –
CNN.com –
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/18/opinions/marco-rubio-pope-francis-visit-cuba/index.html

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