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Monday, March 15, 2021

A Rush to Judgment

The “most dangerous man in America” is dead. Rush Limbaugh.

A lot of people absolutely loved the incredibly popular broadcaster. A lot of people hated him. So what was he…a good guy? A bad guy? We all make our own judgments.

Given a choice between the highest paid radio personality (Howard Stern) or the second highest paid (Rush Limbaugh) I’d take Rush. Both have been patently offensive on many an occasion.

Stern made his mark by making anything and everything sexual his morning banter. One of his more significant controversies brought up again recently was a blackface routine of his and, on a separate occasion, a hugely insulting comment about Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix. I refuse to share details of either—but they’re out there. Stern now says he “regrets” his former behavior. Conveniently.

Rush found humor by making political parody his top act. His distaste for aggressive feminism generated his term “feminazis,” and the generalized reference to progressives as “commie libs.” Name calling is a good way to make enemies.

I first started listening to Rush in the summer of 1990. My political views mostly aligned with his. He was boisterous, often irreverent, but witty and clever.

I stopped listening for lengthy periods for several reasons, but not likely the ones that others did. I tired of incessant commercialism. His ad breaks were often followed by a live commercial read as if it were content. Plus, his choice of callers were often given to self adulation. Feeding your own ego is always a challenge for media talent.

He won and lost a number of advertisers over the years. On a few occasions, his satire went too far. Opposition groups would hammer his advertisers until they said “uncle.” (I.e., in 2012, Rush called a law student a “slut” on the air.)

He solved part of that problem by creating his own products and pitching them, again, as “content.” His Rush Revere book series for kids was one example. Another was his “Two if by Tea” six packs. Patriotism was Limbaugh’s unofficial middle name. And then, of course, he had his own store where you could buy Rush in countless ways. Similar to Graceland where stores have everything Elvis.

I had the occasion to meet Rush—very briefly. It was at the private home of one of his early Sacramento radio advertisers before he jumped ship and became a national celebrity. In the back yard of this advertiser’s home, Rush had taken a seat and two or three chairs were left open to one side of him. I went and sat down next to Rush. It was a short chat—and then a devoted fan captured his attention.

Another of his trademark lines was to make fun of a small community north of Sacramento named Rio Linda. Even on his national show he continued to tease this location by implying the residents were in need of mental clarity on the simplest of topics. Should I confess? I actually LIVED in Rio Linda for a few months!

Well, Rush has gone on to his day of judgment. What kind of reception do you suppose he received? Will all of his sins be recounted and held against him for eternity? One headline following his departure read, “Remembering Rush Limbaugh: ‘Heaven’s Gain’ to Some, New ‘Radio Show in Hell’ to Others.”

Within the last year, Rush made an open profession of faith in Jesus Christ publicly on his radio program. His deteriorating health had given him a much deeper appreciation for each day of life that he’d been given. If that was truly the case, then regardless of what the Grand Accuser says about Rush before God, the Limbaugh slate of sin was wiped clean.

The Bible is clear on this: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NIV) That promise is offered to anyone!

For many, that kind of forgiveness is a hard spiritual pill to swallow. Regardless, best avoid making a “rush to judgment.”

Your turn is coming.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at

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