Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Would Rush Do? Richard Schiffman on Limbaugh as Representative of Jesus

Yesterday, I wrote that I'm inclined to agree with theologians who suggest that, given the demonic face of "God" some of us encounter in the utterances and behavior of some people of "faith," we may have a moral obligation to reject "God."  And in light of that observation, I'm interested to read Richard Schiffman's analysis of Rush Limbaugh and how Rush represents Jesus in what Rush has to say on his popular radio show.

Schiffman cites amazing, exhaustive research of a blogger at the Minsters-Best-Friend website which notes that Rush has uttered the word "Jesus" some 2,420 times on his radio show in the past 20 years, the word "Christ" 2,130 times, and the word "messiah" 4,038 times.  But then, as Schiffman notes, when it comes to replicating Jesus's actual teaching on all kinds of matters, Rush seems, at best, fuzzy about what Jesus said.  And stood for.  

Jesus tells his followers to reject the lex talonis that exacts the penalty of an eye for an eye, and, when assaulted, to turn the other cheek.  And he says that those who take the sword will die by the sword.  Rush, by contrast, proclaims, 

There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons … use them.


You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: "You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court." But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court (Matthew 5:21-22).

Rush, addressing reports of the torture of prisoners by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation … I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release?

Where Jesus enjoins us to share what we have with those in need (Luke 3:11), Rush maintains,

What do you think has fed more mouths, greed or charity? What do you think, folks? What has fed more mouths in this country, the world, whatever subset of people you want to talk about. What has fed more people … greed or charity? That’s right. Greed has fed more mouths than charity ever could.

And, well, you get the picture.  Reading through Schiffman's list brings to mind, for me, St. Teresa of Avila's retort to God when the wagon (or was it a donkey on which she was riding, which threw her?) in which she was crossing a stream overturned, dumping her into the stream.  She is said to have informed God, "If you treat your friends this way, is it any wonder you have so few friends?" 

But with friends like Rush, God really needs no enemies, it seems to me.

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