A number of factors, including big government, are holding the economy back, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said Friday. But one often overlooked constraint is the lack of values, he said.

"The moral well-being of our people is directly linked to their economic well- being," he said at the Values Voter Summit, an annual conservative gathering in Washington, D.C.

Values have to be taught, Rubio said, so lawmakers should do three things to empower parents and civil society. First, parents should be allowed to send kids to any school they want, Rubio argued. Second, government programs should "encourage work, not dependence." And third, lawmakers have to embrace the fact that culture matters.

"No matter how much money the government spends, it will never be able to take the place of parents and strong families," Rubio said.

He lamented a "rising tide of intolerance" of such values, adding that "this is not about imposing our religion on anyone." But Rubio ended his speech on a religious note.

"I believe with all my heart that God is not done with America yet," he said. "I believe with all my heart that God still destines for us an even better future."