I must confess to being a Rush Limbaugh fan for quite a few years after the (first) Gulf War. In time, though, some of his on-the-air behavior started to get on my nerves and my interest waned. Thereafter, I was only an occasional listener.
But now I think Rush Limbaugh has issues that make him unacceptable as a source of information for the Christian. Frankly, we no longer can (if indeed, we ever could) associate ourselves blindly with a public personality just because he is conservative.
I keep it open whether "conservative" values even closely approximate the Christian ethical system. "Values" isolated from Christ just become a new Torah or Law that increasingly separates a person from the Gospel. Paul had some pretty harsh things to say about that situation.
But Limbaugh I think has become even more of a liability to himself as well as his message. He certainly has become a problem for those who profess to follow Christ as Lord and King. Limbaugh repeatedly has said that “Character matters.” I think most Christians would agree. Even though such a slogan is open to interpretation, it still does represent a core belief. What a man is and does eventually will be revealed and be more fundamental to his personality than what he says. “By their fruits your shall know them.” (Matt 7:16) On that score, Limbaugh no longer is worthy of our time or attention.
Limbaugh obviously caters to his Christian audience. He is aware that without them, his listening numbers would drop dramatically. As far as I know, Limbaugh has never openly claimed he was a Christian (unlike his brother), but one could certainly get that implication.
Yet, if his on-the-air antics gave me pause, they were nothing compared to his behavior off-the-air. Consider the following:
Up until two years into his career as a conservative political commentator, Rush Limbaugh had never even bothered to register to vote. He only started when this fact was made public by a newspaper reporter in Sacramento. (This means that Rush didn't even bother to vote for his favorite president, Ronald Reagan!)
Limbaugh has now been married and divorced three times.
His last wife apparently lived in a separate house next door to Limbaugh's since the year 2000. Yet right up to his announcement of a divorce in 2004, Limbaugh presented himself on the air as happily married.
He was arrested for possession and use of illegal drugs in 2003. Apparently he was hooked on painkillers. Those same painkillers eventually caused a hearing loss problem that almost cost him his career. Only an operation (that is not always 100% successful) saved his hearing.
In 2006, Limbaugh was detained again at the airport and found in possession of illegal drugs. As it comes out now, the drugs were technically not illegal, but were "fronted" through some doctors to keep the fact that Limbaugh had them private. One of the drugs was the sexual performance enhancer Viagra.
Now as a local radio host said of this event, "If you were single, lived near Malibu Beach, and made $25 million a year, wouldn't you be carrying around a bottle of Viagra? You bet I would and you would too!"
Well, if you were a Christian, I would hope not. Such would be the behavior of a reprobate. It certainly would not indicate any adherence at all to "Christian values."
Which brings me back to my point. Rush was and is always saying that "Character matters." I agree. But by that standard, Rush Limbaugh fails. If "Character matters" than what Rush Limbaugh says no longer does.
With his list of offenses, he fails even worse than did the man Limbaugh invoked the "character matters" statement against. Despite all his sins and his faults, at least Bill Clinton has stayed married to the same woman for over 30 years and has never been arrested for drug possession.
I think it is time we all sent Bill an apology. It is way past the time that we should have turned Rush Limbaugh's program off.
These are the only options open to us if "Character truly matters."