A lot of evangelicals listen to Rush Limbaugh. However, I happen to believe Limbaugh is one of the worst things to ever happen to evangelical Christianity. He may say things and advocate for policies that sound Biblical, but he's nobody to whom people of Christ should look for sociopolitical guidance and affirmation. Not surprisingly, then, the evangelicals whom I've told about my views regarding Limbaugh think I'm being goofy. Or liberal.
Which, to conservatives, means the same thing.
This week, it came out that some anti-religion advocates have been lobbying hard in the Pentagon to make proselytization in the military a court martial offense. News items started popping up on Internet sites as diverse as the Washington Post and Breitbart.com, and before long, evangelicals who stumbled upon them had become quite confused. How true was all of this? Was this a story worth getting upset over, or not?
Thankfully, World magazine went to work, and between J.C. Derrick and Edward Lee Pitts, the story became clearer. Yes, the Pentagon is caving to incessant demands from liberal groups such as Michael Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and slowly but surely, screws are being tightened on the ability of military personnel to share their faith openly and freely among the ranks.
Rear Admiral William Lee, at a National Day of Prayer event in Washington DC, even warned his audience that evangelicals will need to "weather the storm that I am almost certain will come" regarding restrictions against proselytization in our military.
I'm thankful that World has been - and will continue - digging into this issue. But I wondered why so many of us were apparently caught off-guard by this news. And then it occurred to me that, since many conservatives get their news and views from Limbaugh, maybe the stogie-smoking blowhard isn't interested in religious freedom in our military. After all, gay marriage isn't a big deal to him. So I visited his website, and sure enough - not one article on military evangelism is listed! Obviously, this is not an issue that resonates with him.
Which begs the question: if something as basic as a soldier being able to share their faith with another soldier means nothing to Limbaugh, what does that say about whatever moral compass he has? And whether or not evangelicals need to give credence to his loud and pompous opinions? Alternatively, how likely is it that this issue has somehow slipped under his radar, and that he has no idea about what Weinstein and his ilk are up to? And if Limbaugh truly isn't aware of the proselytization conflict, what does that say about his credibility in selecting news items worth mentioning on his show and website?
Lines are being drawn in the sand every day, are they not? Crossing over them to guffaw along with Limbaugh at attacks - whether credible or merely perceived - against conservatives is almost certainly now an utter distraction for evangelicals. Correct? And if you don't agree with me, what more proof do you need that it is? In the interest of objectivity, I checked the websites of Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, two other conservative talk radio personalities, for what they're saying about this issue, and they're being as tight-lipped about it as Limbaugh. At least Sarah Palin has tweeted about it, challenging President Obama to publicly denounce this blatant violation against religious liberty.
Maybe next week, Limbaugh and his cronies will be all over this story. Maybe they're just waiting until all the facts are in. Maybe - excuse me while I stop laughing at that last sentence - they are trying to coordinate their combined efforts at marshaling their fans against the Pentagon's reputed plans.
Or, maybe it's just time for America's evangelicals to wake up and smell Limbaugh's carcinogenic cigar smoke.