rush limbaugh

Pope Francis: An Imitation of Christ

Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Photo: Paul Haring/Catholic News Service. Via RNS.

Pope Francis is TIME's Person of the Year. But that is only because Jesus is his "Person of the Day" — every day. 

Praises of the pope are flowing around the world, commentary on the pontiff leads all the news shows, and even late night television comedians are paying humorous homage. But a few of the journalists covering the pope are getting it right: Francis is just doing his job. The pope is meant to be a follower of Christ — the Vicar of Christ.

Isn’t it extraordinary how simply following Jesus can attract so much attention when you are the pope? Every day, millions of other faithful followers of Christ do the same thing. They often don’t attract attention, but they keep the world together.

Westboro Seeks Advertising on Limbaugh

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh’s verbal attack against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke last month hasn’t fared too well for his program; his advertisers have pulled out left and right since the now infamous comments. Everyone from McDonalds to Radio Shack to Ace Hardware--a total of 140 advertisers--specifically asked that their advertising not be aired during Limbaugh’s show. Some are going so far as to create "buffer zones," ensuring their ads don't air within a one- to two-hour window before and after Limbaugh's show.

Limbaugh doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the loss. As Hatewatch reports, he said it’s like “losing a couple of French fries in the container when it’s delivered to you in the drive-thru. You don’t even notice it.”

Enter the people of Westboro Baptist Church--the Topeka, Kan.-based church probably best-known for picketing at U.S. soldiers' funerals. Westboro leadership sees Limbaugh's comments as an opportune time to advertise on the show.

Contraception Debate Overlooks the Obvious

Birth control photo, Melissa King, Shutterstock.com

Birth control photo, Melissa King, Shutterstock.com

Since Rush Limbaugh’s tirade, calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” for testifying for free access to birth control, the actual subject of debate seems like a distant memory. What were we talking about again? Paying for sex? Wait …

As religion journalist Nicole Neroulias points out in a recent piece, “I Was a Virgin on Birth Control,” and as others have attempted to testify, doctors prescribe birth control to remedy a number of real, physical ailments. These include ovarian cysts (think kidney stone-style pain, guys), endometriosis(which can lead to infertility) and a variety of other conditions that we know all-male panels probably don’t want to hear details about.

Limbaugh and the Family Research Council: We Love Him, We Love Him Not

(Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

A cardboard cutout of Rush Limbaugh at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference.(Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, appeared on Martin Bashir last week to condemn Rush Limbaugh’s words against Georgetown Law Student, Sandra Fluke.

Bashir asked:

"Mr. Perkins, I’ve found this whole controversy extremely disturbing and it seems almost impossible to find a Republican who unequivocally without conditions condemns what’s been said. Now you are a family man, you’re a committed Christian you play an important role in conservative politics will you for the benefit of our broadcast clearly and categorically denounce what Rush Limbaugh said? "

Perkins response:

"I disagree that because there is a double standard that somehow defends what was said. I do think there is a double standard but that doesn’t defend attacking an individual.

"I think we need to engage in civic -- or civil discussion. I don’t think there’s any room in this process for calling people derogatory names. I think what Rush Limbaugh did by calling this young woman, regardless of her political views, regardless of what she was advocating for, calling her derogatory names. I disagree with her position. I think what she said was off base, what she was advocating for was off base, but I think Rush Limbaugh was wrong in calling her what he did."

Good for him. As Bashir pointed out at the beginning of his program, many conservatives are often hesitant to criticize someone like Limbaugh for fear of on air retribution. Speaking out could cause lost support and donations.

Disagreeing Wthout Being Disagreeable

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Rush Limbaugh speaks during a news conference for judges at the Planet Hollywood. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In an apparent bid to add an erudite contribution to our public discourse, Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student a "slut" and a "prostitute" for testifying before Congress in favor of the Obama administration's mandate that employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans.

After a considerable public outcry, a number of sponsors have abandoned Limbaugh, causing him to issue what resembled a public apology. But Limbaugh also heard more than a few "amens" from people who considered difference of opinion a sufficient justification for publicly defaming the young woman.

Maybe I'm expecting way too much from talk radio, but don't we deserve better from our public discourse?

At the heart of this debate over contraception is a conflict between religious rights and social obligation -- one we've had to navigate numerous times in our nation's history.

It's never been easy for us to determine the boundaries between individual right to unencumbered belief and competing responsibility to civic need. But it certainly doesn't help us work through the difficulties when pundits resort to name-calling and complexities are dissolved into bumper-sticker sound bites.

To talk carefully about this tough issue requires that we take seriously the claim from some Catholics that a requirement to finance contraception represents a fundamental violation of convictions about when life begins and what makes sex a moral good. Yet we also need to take just as seriously the moral value that others place on the right of access to basic health services, and the public good that comes from including contraception in our definition of basic health care.

Anger is the Achilles Heel of the Republican Party

Achilles. Photo by Vava Vladimir Jovanovic / Shutterstock.com.

Achilles. Photo by Vava Vladimir Jovanovic / Shutterstock.com.

It seems lately that the Republican party is painting itself into an angry corner that it can’t find its way out of.

Rush Limbaugh’s recent loose-lipped “slut” comment is a clarion call to his significant conservative base to forge ahead in a direction that leads nowhere good. Basically, he cast negative, sexually charged aspersions at Sandra Fluke, a college student who publicly advocated for health insurance that included birth control.

As this piece in the Christian Science Monitor notes, his comments — and the greater sentiment they reflect — point to a sexual double-standard among many social conservatives. But that isn’t what is tripping up the GOP right now.

Anger is their Achilles heel.

The Bible Lessons Rush Limbaugh Must Have Missed

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sandra Fluke at a hearing before the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, 2/23/12.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Controversial radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his awful comments against Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who spoke to Congress in support of a health-care mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. Fluke came to national attention when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee refused to allow her to speak at a hearing on the issue.

The refusal led Democratic women on the committee to ask: “Where are the women?”

Later, Fluke testified at a non-official forum organized by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. At this forum, Fluke spoke about the importance of hormonal contraception medication in treating other conditions that affect women’s reproductive health.  Not all birth control pills are used for contraception. There was nothing about her testimony that comes anywhere close to the portrayal advanced by Limbaugh.

I have written about the clash of rights between religious liberty and equal protection under the law for women elsewhere, so I will not labor the point here.

No matter the reasons for Limbaugh’s objection to the mandate, clearly he has failed to learn one of the principle moral lessons that Jesus taught: “Judge not, so that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) 

I have said and say again that whenever we make a judgment, we reveal more about ourselves than about the person against whom we are passing judgment.

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