I made the hardest choice the other day. I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh—at least, for a while. Now, I know what some of you other dittoheads are saying. But hear me out. A dittohead, by the way, for those uninformed about Limbaugh nomenclature, is simply a religious—excuse me, a devout, er, a regular listener to or viewer of Rush Limbaugh’s radio and television programs, agreeing with Limbaugh to the extent of orally awarding “dittos” to his commentary.

Some dittoheads may think I’m straying from the conservative fold. Fret not, fellow fearers of big government and socialism in all its insidious forms. You will have to journey far to find someone more cynical about the ability of centralized government to solve anything.

So what’s the problem? The story goes like this: I was at the pizza parlor with my fellow ministers of the Lord, enjoying the aftermath of ministry at a nearby prison for juveniles. At one point, the conversation turned to politics, as conversations often do these days. Having discovered Rush a few months earlier, I had dutifully cultivated my attitude toward anything that could be labeled “liberal.”

Sitting with me at that very table were brothers and sisters in Christ espousing political positions belonging, shall we say, to the left of center. And I found myself getting that close (picture here Maxwell Smart, from the old Get Smart television series, with thumb and forefinger pressed together) to getting into an actual argument with a fellow believer over politics.

That’s when I stopped—talking, that is. And later, when I took time to analyze that encounter, my devotion to the Rush Limbaugh show was also put on hold. Why did I feel so in conflict with one of my own fellow ministers over something as temporal and idiotic (my usual description) as politics, for heaven’s sake?

Listening to Rush put me in a combative frame of mind regarding anything having to do with the L-word. I have realized that the body of Christ was bound to include people from across the political spectrum. I simply couldn’t take the chance of allowing that kind of combative inclination to jeopardize any of those external relationships so critical to the functioning of the body of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not judging any other dittohead or even the occasional listener or viewer. But alas, I am weak. And my passions run deep about some things. My passion for the church and those in it runs deeper than my enjoyment of Rush’s witty conservative commentary.

The tenor of his show comes off in such stark “us vs. them” terms. The shades are strictly black and white. (Guess who is wearing white.) Limbaugh can make you so mad with his zany but pointed criticism of the “other side.”

Why is it, by the way, that when I refer to Rush, I keep wanting to capitalize the “h” when I write the pronoun “he”? And is it just me, or does anyone else notice the movement among dittoheads to “convert” friends and neighbors? I kid you not. Callers use those very words to describe their efforts to proselytize their new-found faith—er, excuse me, belief—oops, I mean, political understanding.

And have you heard callers describe the day, sometimes the very moment, they “discovered” Rush Limbaugh? And even the person who introduced him to them? It’s positively spooky how it parallels a conversion to Jesus as Lord. I can’t help fantasizing about a church full of believers as sincere and committed to the gospel as dittoheads are to conservatism.

But the point for me remains the same. In my case, a political philosophy was threatening to put my relationship with Jesus Christ and fellow believers, in some circumstances, into a subordinate position. My personal solution was to fast from the program for a time to refocus on the center of my life, Jesus Christ. If any of this rings true for you, too, you might consider doing the same.

By Brad Kunkel, a contractor and builder from San Jose, California. Reprinted from The Christian Leader.

Speaking Out does not necessarily reflect the views of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.