On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh launched another religion-based smear of President Obama: that he is sending troops to Africa to kill Christians. Limbaugh declared that “President Obama has deployed troops to another war, in Africa,” adding that the group being targeted, 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. ... So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians.” Limbaugh then claimed that Obama supports “help[ing] the Egyptians wipe out the Christians.”
So proud was Limbaugh of this attack that he posted the transcript of it, complete with audio (for paid subscribers) on his website, under the headline “Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians” :
But Limbaugh largely ignored the record of atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army, and the group's claimed Christian ties are reportedly part of a mish-mash of other religious and occult beliefs.
From Limbaugh's October 14 show, as transcribed on his website:
LIMBAUGH: Have you ever heard of Lord's Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord's Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. 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. That's what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill.
So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and -- (interruption) no, I'm not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it. Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are? I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out, but it wasn't just Obama that supported that. The conservative intelligentsia thought it was an outbreak of democracy. Now they've done a 180 on that, but they forgot that they supported it in the first place. Now they're criticizing it.
Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.
Later in the show, Limbaugh reinforced the smear by asking a caller, "[H]ow do you react to the news that Obama has dispatched a hundred soldiers to fight radical Christians in Africa?" At another point in the show, Limbaugh again said that Obama was “sending the soldiers to fight the Christians in Africa.”
But while Limbaugh was making these attacks, he was seemingly ignorant of the record of atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army. The International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for the group's leader, Joseph Kony, states that “the LRA has engaged in a cycle of violence and established a pattern of 'brutalization of civilians' by acts including murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements; that abducted civilians, including children, are said to have been forcibly 'recruited' as fighters, porters and sex slaves to serve the LRA and to contribute to attacks against the Ugandan army and civilian communities.”
While Kony claims to be a Christian, he and his army reportedly practice a syncretic religion of which Christianity is only one part. From Christianity Today:
Kony, 41, envisions an Acholiland ruled by a warped interpretation of the Ten Commandments. He uses passages from the Pentateuch to justify mutilation and murder. He promotes a demonic spirituality crafted from an eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, and African witchcraft.
Any resemblance to these religions is superficial: While the army observes rituals such as praying the rosary and bowing toward Mecca, there is no prescribed theology in the conventional sense. Kony's beliefs are a haphazard mix from the Bible and the Qur'an, tailored around his wishful thinking, personal desires, and practical needs of the moment. Jesus is the Son of God. But instead of saving the world from sin through his sacrificial love on the Cross, he is a source of power employed for killing those who oppose Kony. The Holy Spirit is not the Divine Comforter, but one who directs Kony's tactical military decisions.
Despite dabbling in the Bible and the Qur'an, Kony's real spiritual obsession is witchcraft. He burns toy military vehicles and figurines to predict the course of battles from their burn patterns. He uses reptiles in magic rituals to sicken those who anger him or to detect traitors in his midst. He claims to receive military direction from spirits of dead men from different countries, including Americans. He teaches that an impending apocalypse will usher in “The Silent World,” where only primitive weapons, such as machetes and clubs, will bring victory.
Christianity Today adds that the group's most frequent target is children:
They rape, mutilate, and kill them with a rapaciousness that staggers the imagination. Worse, they compel children to kill one another and their own families, fighting as “soldiers” in an armed force deliberately composed of children.
Perhaps the greatest atrocity is teaching these children that they spread this carnage by the power of the Holy Spirit to purify the “unrepentant,” twisting Christianity into a religion of horror to their victims. It is spiritual warfare at its very worst, and it could not be more satanic.
After making his attacks on Obama, Limbaugh then appeared to concede that maybe the Lord's Resistance Army aren't very nice people after all:
LIMBAUGH: Is that right? The Lord's Resistance Army is being accused of really bad stuff? Child kidnapping, torture, murder, that kind of stuff? 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.
Too bad Limbaugh couldn't be bothered to do any “due diligence research” on the group's well-documented atrocities and dubious claims to be “Christian” before exploiting the group to smear Obama.