With all due respect and as a firm believer in the freedom of speech (and as a registered Republican), “Rush Limbaugh, please shut up!” Last week Rush created a major fire storm and disturbing sound byte when he called a Georgetown University student and birth control advocate, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and a “prostitute”for lobbying on behalf of contraceptives. Not all of us consider birth control a license for rampant social immorality and some of us consider there to be far more important political issues in this year’s presidential elections. Miss Fluke’s comments are full of holes logically and even morally, but Limbaugh distracted the dialogue from those issues altogether. Once again, someone in the name of conservative values has behaved in a way totally contrary to the scriptural injunction to deal with people “with gentleness and respect” and made evangelical Christians look like a bunch of intolerant, raving loonies. And what troubles me even more is the failure of all three Republican front runners to distance themselves from the incivility of Rush’s rampage.
Last Friday witnessed a horrific outbreak of killer tornadoes, one which reached E4 level and destroyed much of the town of Henryville, Indiana. The Friday storms touched struck at least a dozen states, just over two days after an earlier round killed 13 people across the South and Midwest. So far, emergency officials say the storms Friday killed 19 people in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio, and one each in Alabama and Georgia. My own children traveling across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio to join me in northwest Ohio for a birthday celebration for their mom spent time in shopping center shelters and basements while tornadoes passed them by. Our hearts go out to the victims of those tornadoes and the survivors who must bury the dead and try rebuilding their lives. Senseless killings earlier that week in a high school in Chadron, Ohio also captured our front pages. Tornadoes remind us that we are not, for all our intelligence and technology, the masters of our fate and captains of our souls. More shootings remind us that man cannot be the master either, for our basic sinfulness always emerges to take its victims.
My comfort and strength is fallen, troubled world is the promise Paul spoke of in Romans 8, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)