Leaving a Legacy

2021 | Week of February 22 | Radio Transcript #1400

At least two notable Americans died this month—but, oh, the difference in the impact they had on our nation and the legacy they left.

Larry Flynt died on February 10 at age 78. Flynt made millions on pornography.  He saw himself—and others often agreed—as a champion of the First Amendment because starting in the 1970s, Flynt pushed the legal boundaries of what free speech meant as it relates to pornography and obscenity.

Headlines in several national news outlets said something to the effect that Flynt “built his business interests on hardcore raunch.”

Flynt grew up in East Kentucky and was a ninth-grade dropout who figured out how to use the system and street smarts and even his fists to get what he wanted—eventually building a nationwide pornography empire. His father was an alcoholic and his mother just a teenager when she gave birth to him.  When Flynt was ten, his parents divorced.

By the time he was 33, Flynt had been married and divorced three times. Ultimately, he married five times. The Washington Post goes so far as to say Flynt was “proudly promiscuous.”

Larry Flynt took smut to a whole new level with his Hustler magazine—well before the Internet made pornography available at any time—even to the point of raising the ire of feminists such as Gloria Steinem, who once described Flynt as a “violent, sadistic pornographer.”

Online research shows absolutely no story of a deathbed conversion to Christianity for Mr. Flynt. At one point in his life, he apparently professed a personal relationship with Christ, but then shortly thereafter he announced publicly he was an atheist. Suffice it to say, Flynt impacted American culture for the worse and from what we know passed into eternity without ever acknowledging Jesus Christ as His Savior.

The other nationally recognized person who died this month was conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh, who succumbed to the ravages of cancer on February 17.

Let me hasten to say that Rush Limbaugh was, for many years, hardly a saint by any definition. He was, however, an unusually gifted communicator and by anyone’s standards, launched conservative political talk radio and really put it into the stratosphere of radio programs.

Limbaugh grew up in a home some have described as “Christian.” I’m not sure exactly how that term is used in this context. Nevertheless, Rush came from an intact, traditional nuclear family. He showed a keen interest in radio early-on, even dropping out of college after two semesters because all he really wanted to do was be involved with radio.

By the 1990s listening to Rush Limbaugh and his Excellence in Broadcasting program was a daily fix for millions of conservative Americans because Rush said what we were thinking and wanted to say but didn’t have the opportunity, the words, and certainly not the platform.

Unfortunately, Rush was married four times with three of those marriages ending in divorce. He also struggled at one point with prescription drug addiction. He was often extremely blunt in his assessments of people and events, often being accused of being too harsh.

To be honest, I frequently wondered if Rush was a Believer, a true Christian. I knew that in the last few years, his tone had changed. He made statements such as his talent was “just on loan from God,” something he wouldn’t have said in his earlier years. In the last couple of days, people who had an inside, close relationship with Rush said that he had truly put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I sincerely hope that was true and his demeanor and his words of late would support that belief.

Even if that isn’t true, however, the overall impact Rush had on America was positive, if for no other reason that he consistently voiced conservative positions on critical cultural and political issues even when it was extremely unpopular to do so. In spite of his bombastic on-air personality and his human failings, most people agree that Rush was not an angry, manipulative or vindictive man.  Many point to great acts of kindness Rush did along the way, like helping the families of fallen military personnel and first responders.

Both Flynt and Limbaugh left their mark on this nation and its people. And both have entered eternity. Only God knows where each one is right now, in Heaven or in Hell. But the reality is that how we live here on earth does matter and our legacy can be either for good or for evil. That’s a choice each of us makes every day.

For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”


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