Saturday, February 06, 2010

Attacking Obama, Rush Scorns Christianity

This past week, President Obama made his second off-handed remark about the character of the Las Vegas, Nevada business community, pointing out

You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college.

That is undeniably true, as was his remark a year ago to fat-cat bankers "You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime." (Actually, they could, but that was the problem.)

Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday charged

He's gotta have something in for Las Vegas. Maybe he lost a bunch of money there. Maybe got rolled by a hooker there. I don't know what it is, something happened.

If he did, it must have occurred several years ago, for, in the run-up in January 2008 to the Nevada caucus/primary, the Los Angeles Times reported

Barack Obama has warned about the dangers of gambling -- that it carries a "moral and social cost" that could "devastate" poor communities. As a state senator in Illinois, he at times opposed plans to expand gambling, worrying that it could be especially harmful to low-income people.

So Barack Obama has been right about gambling at least three times. Probably Rush has been right about gambling at least once- say, when a Democratic politician has defended the practice- but given Limbaugh's preference for high-stakes gambling on Wall Street, his partiality to gambling generally is understandable.

But if his remark about prostitutes and the President of the United States is glaringly loathsome, Rush was more ironic when in the same riff he curiously remarked

By the way, I'm just saying, just a little side note here, but gambling is forbidden in the Koran. Just a little aside. Just saying.... And again the Koran prohibits -- gambling is forbidden in the Koran, I'm just saying.

Your first reaction might be- should be: Why doesn't he just come right out and claim that the President is a Muslim?

Fair enough (the reaction, not the charge). Rush may have no evidence- but that doesn't matter- it has never stopped him before. But what's stunning is the implication that Obama may be a Muslim (or at least Muslim-lite) on the basis that he's critical of gambling!

There is nothing un-Christian about gambling, you protest, and point out there is nothing in the Holy Bible about gambling. Admittedly, gambling is not mentioned (nor, for that matter, is abortion). But if not unmistakable that gambling runs counter to biblical principles, it is barely mistakable (as against the promotion of gambling, which is unmistakablly antithetical to Christian principles). The Old and New Testaments are the dominant expressions of Judeo-Christian principles, and Rush has no objection to individuals being Christian. Or Jewish. Just not Muslim.

This website notes that Scripture contains only disdain for the love of money, as in:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV).

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NIV). (For more on Ecclesiastes, see video below).

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

The get-rich-quit mentality comes in for its share of criticism:

Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow (Proverbs 13:11, NIV).

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:20, ESV).

And Paul kind of wraps it up in the 31st verse of the tenth chapter of the first book of Corinthians: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

This doesn't mean that Rush Limbaugh is not a Christian. Or that gambling, even promiscuously, consigns one to Hell (it doesn't, and couldn't). Or even that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, although belonging to a Protestant Christian church seems a little incompatible with the Islamic faith. It just means that for Rush Limbaugh, Christianity, or abortion, gay rights, or guns, or wars and the military are just so much background noise. It's that a zeal for gambling in Las Vegas (though relatively inconsequential) is entirely harmonious with that other passion of the talk show host, the gambling that our corporate titans so avidly pursued until they brought the American economic system to the brink of collapse. And nothing else gives Rush such a rush.

I'm just saying.

next up: unknown, but at least it won't be Rush.

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