"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

05 March 2012

Memo to Rush Limbaugh

And all the other angry talking heads cluttering up our radio waves
And to all those who support the same.

Sensationalism sells. I get that.

But do not, attempt to pass off your sensationalism as debate, information, or engaging the issues. Exaggeration and emotional manipulation are not information, they are propaganda.

I deeply disagree with Ms. Fluke, the woman Rush Limbaugh insulted on air this week. I have been vocal in my belief that we need to stand by the Roman Catholic Church's freedom not to provide birth control against its teaching and conscience. I have been vocal that abortion is murder and that hormonal birth control can cause spontaneous abortion. I have been vocal that hormonal birth control is harmful to women, increasing the risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer. I have been vocal in my opinion that "the Pill" is harmful to society, drugging women in order to divorce sex from procreation and marriage, thwarting the created order so that sin may abound.

I deeply agree with Ms. Fluke, but that does not make her less human. Dehumanizing words like "slut" and sensationalist assumptions about her personal lifestyle have no place in American media, even that base form of communication known as "talk radio." Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric is indefensible.

And yet, people are out there defending him because they agree with him that Ms. Fluke is mistaken. Instead of respectfully engaging, they prefer to dehumanize her. Instead of listening and evaluating, they blindly accept the repugnant words of the one they think they agree with and openly attack the other.

Anyone trained in classical debate understands that when one resorts to the ad hominem attack, one has already lost the debate. Words like those aired this week were a desperate gasp from one who has already lost. In my house, when my eldest son was little, we taught him the phrase 'treat her like a lady, even when she forgets to act like one' in response to a six year old girl who was desperate to kiss him smack on the face every time she saw him. I'm sure Rush would have a foul word or two for this sort of behavior, but Rush needs to learn the same lesson, treat us like ladies, even when we forget to act like we ought, even when you disagree with our opinions and our political choices.

Just maybe, once in a while, an opponent treated with kindness and genuine attentive listening, might actually become an ally.

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