When asked about the age of the Earth last month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida answered less than brilliantly: "At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries."
He stated today that he was taken aback by a sudden shift in the conversation, and didn't feel he'd explained himself adequately because he was "caught off guard." In today's comments, he firmly repudiated young-Earth creationism:
"There is no scientific debate on the age of the earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively, it’s at least 4.5 billion years old...I was referring to a theological debate, which is a pretty healthy debate. The theological debate is, how do you reconcile with what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches...Now for me, actually, when it comes to the age of the earth, there is no conflict.”
Here, slightly different quotes clarify further:
"Science says it’s about four and a half billion years old, and my faith teaches that that’s not inconsistent...I still believe God did it...that’s how I’ve been able to reconcile that and I think it’s consistent with the teachings of my church. But other people have a deeper conflict and I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever we believe."
So he doesn't believe in YEC. Good for him. My only concern now is wondering what he means by "in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever we believe." I have no argument with this statement, as long as he is talking about my right to teach my children in my own home (I sincerely doubt many people in America would argue with this concept). When I start trying to teach other people's kids wildly incorrect information via the public school system, however, then that becomes a problem. It's still not entirely clear to me what Rubio means here. As long as he isn't saying "creationism should be taught as an alternative to evolution in public schools because many Americans want it taught to their children," I have no further argument with him on the topic.