Rush Limbaugh and Three Evangelical Blind Spots
Although I have a hard time understanding how intelligent, positive, thoughtful and compassionate people can embrace orthodox Christianity in the first place (I long ago rejected the idea that an omnipotent god of love would require a blood sacrifice for sin) at least this particular evangelical, Rachel Held Evans, has her head screwed on straight about Limbaugh:
‘What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute…So, if we’re gonna sit here, and if we’re gonna have a part in this, then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money.’
– Rush Limbaugh
To me, this is whole situation is a no-brainer: What Rush Limbaugh said was wrong. No woman, under any circumstances should be spoken of in those terms. Limbaugh’s ugly rant against law student and activist Sandra Fluke was misogynistic, vitriolic, and far beyond any definition of civil discourse. It should be categorically condemned, and sponsors are right to pull their advertisements in response. Yes, two liberal commentators have used similar language in the past, but as David Frum wisely points out, the indecencies of others in the past do not excuse those of Limbaugh in the present, nor should they prevent us from speaking out about the situation at hand.
It’s hard to believe that any Christian would support a man who leveled such a crass and hateful rant against someone created in the image of God, but over the weekend, I encountered several who did just that…and passionately. Most were part of my own evangelical community. This baffled and frustrated me, as it did many of you who, via Facebook and Twitter, told me that you’ve encountered similar reactions among your family and friends.
How can anyone who identifies as a follower of Jesus not only listen to, but support, this kind of disgusting language? How can good people—the kind who show up at my door with a casserole the minute they find out I’m sick—openly cheer these kinds of remarks?
I can’t know for sure what goes on in people’s minds when they align themselves with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, but I suspect this reaction has something to do with three common blind spots among evangelicals: