Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quinn & Rose: Has hate reached its limit?

In 1996 a then-coworker challenged me to listen to Jim Quinn, then a morning-drive DJ at a local classic rock station, give his opinions about politics in general and President Bill Clinton in particular; I did, for one solid week, and became nearly physically ill. It wasn't just that he was a conservative; after all, I had listened to some Christian radio a few years previously and knew what to expect. But the vitriol and the insults that he delivered just didn't sit well with me.

Years later, I realized why: I might have well been listening to the devil himself.

It wasn't merely his ideological agenda I had problems with; more to the point, it was the plainly mean things he said about people he disagreed with. There was no grace or peace in his speech, just pure bile. He actually made Rush Limbaugh sound sweet and kind.

Last week Quinn and sidekick Rose Somma Tennent -- whom I met a few years previously at a local Christian radio station where she was on staff and I was doing commentary -- lost their jobs as commentators at a local talk-radio station in what I suspect to be a contract dispute. Their show had been syndicated to seven other stations around the country and even on Sirius XM satellite radio. (I didn't bother to find out what they were saying about President Barack Obama because I knew it couldn't be good.)

My reaction? "Thank you, Jesus."

Two things come to mind.

One, if you want to find the reason there's so much political polarization in this country, start with folks like Quinn & Rose, who stay angry seemingly for its own sake. No solutions, no addressing issues in depth -- just rage against a "them." We know just what they were against, but we never knew just what they were for; and God help anyone whom they targeted. I understand why they did such -- for the sake of ratings because they had to know that people were hanging on their every word. They likely became fairly wealthy in the process; after all, hate sells. (You can't blame "liberals" for this because -- and the conservatives will tell you this -- left-wing talk-radio has never taken hold.)

Two, not forever because eventually people are going to react if you keep treating them like piƱatas. Around 2005 I noticed that a progressive populism was becoming evident, initially due to the war in Iraq going bad but ultimately a backlash against the conservative enterprise, and it was fighting fire with fire. By last summer, around the time of the Sandra Fluke controversy, it developed enough clout to cause sponsors, I understand about 70 in all, to drop Limbaugh's show. That wouldn't have happened even five years ago.

But there's also a spiritual principle afoot here. You see, listening to Satan's lies and accusations deadens sensitivity and leads directly to a decline in discernment. Again, the actual agenda doesn't matter; it's the idea of scapegoating people for who or what they are or what they believe that God cannot tolerate. That's why such contempt isn't perpetual; it wears you out and down. In other words, attitudes and behaviors are ultimately more important than worldview, and when you refuse to be confronted about them communication breaks down. Even with God.

I have been saying for quite some time that an awakening is taking place in this country, and one of the signs of such is a rejection of the world's way of thinking. Quinn & Rose's show was definitely "of the world," and they are now receiving the world's reward for their actions. I haven't seen Rose in a while -- I don't know Quinn's religious leanings -- but when and if I do I will remind her that God calls us to a better, more excellent way.

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