In Praise of Michael Savage, Bible Thumper

You don't care...thump!  You have no morals...thump!  And because you're immoral, we have an amoral president...thump!  This country is dying!  Thump!  Thump!  "Wake up, America!" shouts a most unexpected prophet, a throwback to the Old Testament prophets he is so fond of quoting.  Meet radio talker and elite bête noir Michael Savage -- Bible thumper extraordinaire.

On any given weekday he will open his Bible and read the words of God to the third largest audience on radio, thereby enraging even more -- if that's possible -- the liberal and conservative elites that already regard him as the nation's "bigot hero."  Enough already!  It is one thing to spout, as Esquire put it, "racist, homophobic" diatribes.  But talking God adds insult to injury.  And he talks God to almost ten million listeners a week, asserting -- as the Washington Times put it -- that "America's salvation rests on returning to its enduring Judeo-Christian roots -- constitutional government, family, faith and patriotism."

And so they attempt to shut him up.  The Democratic supervisors of San Francisco tried to ban him from the city where his show originates.  Another major Democrat blog demanded the government declare him "an enemy combatant" and "ship him to Gitmo."  The anti-Semitic and extremist front group, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), has attempted to drive him from the airwaves through advertiser boycotts.  But Michael Savage, like the prophets of the Old Testament, simply refuses to go away; after all, he's got God.

"Each day is a miracle," Savage instructs his listeners, urging them to "find a Bible, just open it up and read it randomly."  "I start to shake when I realize what this (life) is all about -- and I realize I was born for a purpose."  And then, his voice dripping the Bronx of his birth where he was born Michael Weiner, he urges his listeners to "open your eyes" and "see God everywhere."  And by pushing God, he cements his crazy credentials, the talker most detested inside the Beltway, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and by grandees everywhere.

His real crime, the Washington Times tells us, is that he "is unwilling to accommodate...the myths of multiculturalism."  But American Thinker's Robin of Berkeley -- a psychotherapist and recovering liberal -- sees a more religious and elemental Savage who "prophetically" fights an elite comprised of "men and women who long ago lost their souls."  These elites, with the election of Barack Obama, have pushed us closer to the Armageddon that Savage is convinced will be brought about by the loss of a Judeo-Christian culture that is the most Godly the world has seen.

With a single word, "prophetically," Robin of Berkeley gets to the heart of this throwback to the thunder and histrionics of the Old Testament prophets.  Savage is a man out of time, a return to the ancient Hebrew prophets.  He is Ezekiel, lying on his side, bound by ropes, suffering as he warns of the consequences of abandoning God; Jeremiah, wandering around Jerusalem with an ox yoke around his neck, reminding people of the culture and good they've forgotten; and he is Isaiah, stripped naked and barefoot and warning of the brutality and  persecution to come if they continue to follow false gods.

And so each afternoon Savage sits down at the microphone and offers the 21st century equivalent of getting naked and barefoot.  He bluntly, angrily calls out media and political elites for destroying the most prosperous and free nation the world has ever seen.  Their "lies" have given us "the sexual free-for-all, the experimental drugs, the easy divorce, the banishment of Judeo-Christian anything from schools, the flood of immigrants, and the so-called abortion rights movement."  And out comes the Bible, as he reads from the prophet Micah, "thou shall eat but not be satisfied.... "

"That's you," he thunders over the air, "That's you!"  Look what they've done to you, what you've allowed them to do to you.  They say we can have it all if we just listen to them -- e.g., spend our way into prosperity, let the government take care of us -- but they don't care about you, only themselves.  Look around, they've given us "corruption and violence."  It is "horrible to believe this could happen to this country."  Wake up, he booms, let's find our way back "from Babylon."

In Georgetown, in Cambridge and Berkeley they call it "lunatic fringe" bigotry.  But he perches atop the talk radio business because ordinary Americans, openly mocked by Beltway politicians and media elites, call it Truth with a capital "T."  The elites don't get him and never will.  That's why, as the New Yorker put it, he is doomed to being a "permanent resident of the political wilderness, sending daily dispatches back to the diseased civilization the rest of us call home."

The Michael Savage show is the stuff of Old Testament.  Listening to him is like reading the Psalms, all anger and angst and despair.  Sure, he intones, "I believe in the Bible" but when is God going to do something?  "I pray four of five times a day" but sometimes I feel like "Mother Theresa near the end.  Mother Theresa said He (God) doesn't write, doesn't call, what's the point of this?"  The point, of course, is also contained in the Psalms, which mixes despair with hope.

And this hope resonates with ordinary citizens, even in places like New York City where his ratings are soaring and people realize...Michael Savage is right.  Our leaders are not only incompetent, they are immoral.  In New York, a Democrat-turned-Republican mayor has loosed a virulent political correctness that, outside of Upper Manhattan, has left the city in ruins.  "New York burns while he fiddles," was the way one New York post columnist put it.  And in the portions of the city where Savage grew up, more and more respond to his Biblical message: Turn back to God, rediscover our Judeo-Christian traditions, and rid this land of those who seek to destroy it...and you.

Stuart Schwartz, a frequent AT contributor, is on the faculty of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.