Tuesday, March 06, 2012

More on the Rush Limbaugh Controversy

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.


DebbieLynne said...

Exactly! Who was it (maybe Patrick Henry) that said: "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it?"

Leslie Wolf said...
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Solameanie said...


I respect your viewpoint, but I don't make such an observation picking it off a bush. I've been involved in media off and on for 32 years. Both sides are great at making caricatures of each other, and I recognize that it happens. But my comments are aimed at a certain contingent within liberalism as a whole that seems largely dominant these days. Of them and their tactics, it is no caricature.

Leslie Wolf said...
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Solameanie said...

No, Leslie - I won't remove your comment. I'll leave it. I am generally not in the habit of deleting comments or banning commenters unless they get vulgar, nasty, obscene, profane and abusive. You have not done so, and I am not afraid of being criticized or rebuked. I'm always happy to apologize when I blow it. But I will defend myself when I believe I'm right, and now is such a time.

You just judged me and my heart without knowing either, questioning whether I even have the desire to follow Christ - a pretty breathtaking statement. In what I have said here, I have not judged hearts, but actions - especially among those who publicly identify as Christians. Fair game. We are NOT to judge motivations or to claim to know the hearts of others, which is God's territory. We can and should judge actions in the church.

I looked at your blog, and I could see immediately we would have some areas of disagreement, especially regarding eternal judgment etc. But that's an aside. It's probably good for your own state of mind that you don't read me any longer. I'll just upset your applecart and have no desire to do that.

You are free to criticize my words/actions however you like. I didn't answer your first comment in attack mode, and though you said you "respectfully" disagreed with me, you drew your knife and plunged it in with the words that followed. And that's fine - I'm a big boy and can take it. I just find this sort of passive-aggressiveness curious.

You apparently are the type that mistakes the meaning of Christian love into a type that never raises its voice or confronts wrongdoing - a type of love that is alien to Scripture. In fact, you have to ignore most of the Bible to interpret love in that fashion. Jesus talked about Hell more than anyone in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul used very strong language when confronting false teachers in the church, as well as sinful behavior in the church by professing believers. Read 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians for a good primer. If you condemn what I have said, you might as well condemn them also. I stand in good company.

The very point about confronting sin is that it is motivated by love - a love for the lost and desire that they not experience God's wrath, which the unrepentant and unregenerate will certainly experience. Your blog gives away that you can't quite conceive of that, or that those outside of Christ will face eternal separation from Him. They're not judged because they haven't heard of Him or the Gospel. They're judged over what they have done. And since all sin -- you know the rest.

As to dealing with issues in the church, bad theology has consequences as does bad behavior. I reserve the right to comment on both, and sometimes I will not be Caspar Milquetoast in how I address it That is NOT a lack of love. It's plain speaking.