RUSH LIMBAUGH AND SILENT SAINTS
After imbibing chili with church members we gathered in the den to chat. As one of the fellow guests got up to leave I saw black letters from his orange t-shirt glaring “Club Gitmo.”
I asked him where he got his shirt. Smiling, assuming I was admiring it, he said, “Rush Limbaugh’s website.”
It was one of those moments.
It’s been said if someone is saying or doing something evil, and you don’t respond you are implying agreement.
Can Christians really make light of Gitmo?
Can Christians really advertise for Rush?
Should I disrupt the Christian chili-klatsch with what might be considered “liberal hand-wringing”?
Am I exchanging social grace for complicity?
Ryan Bieler, a web editor for Sojourners, links readers to Rush Limbaugh's recent remarks in response to the capture of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams:
“…part of me that likes this. And some of you might say, "Rush, that's horrible. Peace activists taken hostage." Well, here's why I like it. I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality. So here we have these peace activists over there. I don't care if they're Christian or not. They're over there, and as peace activists, they've got one purpose. They're over there trying to stop the violence.”
Bieler comments, “His (Limbaugh’s) reference to reality is intriguing, coming in support of an administration now widely regarded as out of touch with the reality in Iraq. Promises that we would be greeted as liberators, that Iraq would pay for its own invasion with oil revenue, that we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were, that only a few troops would be needed - all evaporated in the face of a reality that the likes of Limbaugh can only imagine, while the men and women of the armed forces, CPT members, and the people of Iraq experience its horror on a daily basis.”
Frequently conservatives decry an appalling lack of outrage on the part of Muslims throughout the world to attacks on civilians. Beiler’s essay emphasizes that Muslim politicians and clerics have called for the release of these hostages.
As the Bush administration sends Bush confidante Karen Hughes to listen to the Muslim world to help the US mission to win hearts and minds, they recognize that military force and buying the Iraqi press isn’t going to be enough to make things right.
Is it possible that courageous Christians actively pursuing peace through non-violence might speak to the Muslim world?
Undoubtedly, lovers of Jesus concerned about genuine threats to America’s security from Muslim extremists have opposing views of how to deal with these vital concerns.
Yet regardless of how you think about policy, how can Christians embrace the commentator Rush Limbaugh who says he “likes it just a little when he sees them blindfolded with guns pointed to their heads”?
I have to wonder what it will take for Christians to distance themselves from this man and his form of entertainment. How can some Christians have the energy to fuss and fume over the president’s greeting cards saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” and yet not be screaming that Rush Limbaugh is a little gleeful over this kidnapping?
Several gatherings remain on the holiday horizon. Otherwise sweet church-going folks sporting or spewing Rush-isms may abound.
Is silence at a party complicity?
"It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it."
Martin Luther King, Jr.