I was not going to post on this subject again, until a rather lengthy exchange on Facebook this evening with a liberal Christian friend got me cranked up. I am not going to repeat what I said earlier, i.e. that Rush should not have used the words he used, yada yada. Instead, I am amazed at the faux outrage of liberals who have ginned up this story to the point where they're making it sound like Rush was advocating sending people to the ovens at Auschwitz.
In a word, this is no longer about a popular talk show host using insulting language and being rightly corrected for it. This is now being used conveniently by the left to try and silence conservative voices on the air and off. I'm not having any of it.
People act like what Rush said is some sort of unprecedented horror with political speech. I wonder how much reading some of these liberals have done of old newspaper articles, editorials and cartoons from colonial days and the first oh, say, 100 years of the Republic? Some of them even written by some of the Founding Fathers? People got quite upset. I seem to remember a duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Hamilton even got killed. Not advocating the Code Duello, but you get my point. That was then, this is now.
If this controversy had ended with rebuke of what Rush said a couple of days ago, and his apology, I might have been content to leave it there, just as I would with other radio hosts who have said controversial, insulting things and then had to backpedal and apologize. A few liberals have found themselves in that boat from time to time, but they don't get called on it much. More than a few conservative Christians, including me, did not like the choice of words and said so.
Now, however, I am beginning to believe that this has become simply a convenient tool to do what liberals have desired for a long time - to silence a powerful, effective conservative voice. They've tried to beat Rush in the radio market and can't do it. They've tried bringing back the Fairness Doctrine to try and control the message that way. Next they tried changing rules on local programming to try and weasel control through the back door. Thus far, they've failed. But this affords one of the strongest opportunities they've had, and they're milking it for all its worth. Again, I think some of the outrage has become a bit of faux outrage. Well acted and loud.
I've listened to Rush for a long time, although not for hours straight on end. Usually in the car going to and from lunch. Other times, I have listened for extended periods of time. Yes, he does mock liberal shibboleths and skewers liberal politicians for their views/hypocrisy. He roasts them often in humorous ways. He's even skewered some Republicans from time to time ala John McCain etc. I see this done by liberal entertainers and talk show hosts routinely. I didn't hear too many people on the left get upset with Pastor Jeremiah Wright for "God damn America." How about Reverend Jesse Jackson and "Hymietown?
Sometimes people have a hard time dealing with satire. Sometimes satire is genuinely funny, but sometimes it gets really offensive. Other times, people will illustrate absurdity by being absurd. When people get it, they laugh. When they don't get it, they get mad. If your ideas and beliefs are being mocked, ridiculed and shown to be ridiculous, you'll get mad. Whatever side of the fence you're on. Sometimes the ridiculous deserves ridicule. But here we are again, trying to outshout each other and trying to prove the other guy is worse. It gets very wearisome.
I don't have to defend everything Rush has said over 20 years. Sometimes he's made me mad. Sometimes he's made me laugh. Sometimes he makes me think. While I don't agree with him in lockstep, I do believe strongly in the PRINCIPLES he defends i.e. traditional conservative principles of limited government, strong national defense, anti-abortion etc. And he is very effective at defending those principles. The left would love it to get him off the air. And it won't end there. Hannity will be next. Michael Reagan, Michelle Malkin, Michael Medved, Mike Gallegher, name your talk show host. Rush is only the beginning. When I still co-hosted a radio program (until last September) I'm sure I said things on the air at one time or another to make someone want us banned or taken off the air. I remember when we did a program talking about where Masonic lodge beliefs and practices contradicted Christianity,, you wouldn't believe the howls of outrage. My co-host and I never made personal insults at anyone, but I know we've made plenty of people mad, at some personal cost from time to time. My prayer for us is that we did our best to honor and glorify Christ and not speak out of our flesh when being critical or corrective.
The long and short of this? We'd better support free speech, and on this, I sound like a liberal. Because as soon as you squelch me (or Rush), they'll come and squelch you next. And every single one of us will be held accountable by the Master for what comes out of our mouths.