By Religion News Spokane Blogger Daryl Geffken
This is the case today, after I just read Rush Limbaugh’s statement lambasting President Obama’s decision to send 100 soldiers to capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony. Essentially, Limbaugh stated that the purpose of Obama’s decision to send troops was to kill Christians. He cited LRA documentation to state that it existed to rid the world of dictatorship and reestablish a multi-party government in central Africa. According to the transcript of the show, Limbaugh then condemned Obama’s actions because the “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them,”
He continued by diminishing the effect the LRA had, focusing particularly on Americans “The government of Uganda claims that Lord’s Resistance Army only has 500 or a thousand soldiers in total. So what’s the threat? If that’s the maximum size of their army, what’s the threat? A thousand soldiers?” According to the International Criminal Court, the LRA is a guerilla group that roams through Central Africa, and is accused of horrific atrocities, having killed an estimated 30,000 people over the last 20 years.
Based on the transcript, at the end of the show it seems someone had informed Limbaugh about the LRA: “Is that right? The Lord’s Resistance Army is being accused of really bad stuff? Child kidnapping, torture, murder, that kind of stuff?” he said. “Well, we just found out about this today. We’re gonna do, of course, our due diligence research on it. But nevertheless we got a hundred troops being sent over there to fight these guys — and they claim to be Christians.” By this point, Limbaugh’s authority had already weighed in on the subject, and in a manner similar to a lawyer who makes prejudicial statements in front of a jury knowing they will be stricken from record but not from memory, the damage has been done.
Let me be clear: I am not concerned with elections. My singular concern has to do with the fact that a high-profile and influential figure has spoken with such infantile ignorance that perpetuates the devaluing and marginalization of a very real, very pressing and very painful situation. This is an example of the power of voice in our society, especially the voice of those with great influence. I suspect Limbaugh’s statement will further polarize people and promulgate ignorant, self-promoting privilege. This is a shame and something from which we can learn. I cannot understand the flaunting of ignorance that I have just witnessed by Mr. Limbaugh. Further, I am deeply upset by such a transactional position on justice (i.e., as long as they are killing, torturing and brainwashing their own people-who we don’t care about-it’s not worth my time).
Last night I snorted my drink out my nose due to the witty and poignant social comedy of Eddie Izzard describing world reaction to human atrocity “Pol Pot killed 1.7 million Cambodians, died under house arrest, well done there. Stalin killed many millions, died in his bed, aged 72, well done indeed. And the reason we let them get away with it is they killed their own people. And we’re sort of fine with that. Hitler killed people next door. Oh, stupid man. After a couple of years we won’t stand for that, will we?” It is sad to see such strong evidence of this position less than 24 hours later.