Monday, January 4, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

By Eric Von Salzen

I just saw this clip of news commentator Brit Hume recommending that Tiger Woods abandon his Buddhist faith [did you know Tiger is a Buddhist? Why am I always the last to know these things?] because “I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’"

My first thought was, What business is it of a news commentator to give such advice?

My second thought was, That’s awfully rude to the Buddhist faith, and culturally insensitive, too.

My third thought was, What Hume said is what our faith teaches, isn’t it? Aren't we supposed to make disciples of all nations? Even if we are TV news commentators?

What do you think?


  1. Yet another post to get the juices flowing! You have been resting up during the Advent and Christmas seasons. Preliminarily, I think this is what Hume (presumably a follower of Christ) feels he is obligated to do--his way of following the Great Commission from Saint Matthew's gospel. Even so, it would not be my choice (being a cradle Episcopalian, a card or letter would be more my route) but he is not speaking for the government so it seems his right to voice same.

    As for the reference to Buddhism, it is not a religion in the pure sense, but a meditative philosophy as I see it. I don't purport to know everything about the Buddha, but as a Christian I feel that said Oriental philosophy is helpful for many, useful as a meditative tool, but it does not give the full package like Christ and His Church does. It gives a part of it and is helpful in that sense. So, I don't few Hume's comments about Buddhism as "rude" although I do think it was a bit insensitive to not mention the good things about said religion in drawing out key differences from what Hume would like to see Tiger turn to. Then again, I always try and keep in mind what Saint Francis of Assisi said about preach the gospel always, use words when necessary (at least for me).

  2. I think what Hume did was completely out of line. Taking the good news to all peoples, even "to the ends of the earth" applies as much in the Hume/Tiger situation as would a plumber "witnessing" while on a housecall.

    Taking Jesus as the ultimate example, we often forget that Jesus never forced himself or his message on anyone by surprise or without their being engaged with him initially. Tiger no more asked for Hume's exhortation than you or I did.

    Further, Hume was (presumably) not speaking as a TV commentator, but as a guest on an op/ed show (albeit on a Fox News talking-heads show). In this scenario, it is certainly Hume's right to speak his mind. With the want of a more forceful word, however, I'll simply say that there are many within the buckle of the Bible belt that are "very pleased" to see and hear this from "their" network.

    It has yet again become obvious to me that the uber-conservative, fundamental, right-wing Christian viewpoint on this subject is overwhelmingly being pandered to. It is the James Kennedy method of dealing with society's ills: simply repent of your sin and all will be made right in the world.

    What saddens me is this fact: it wouldn't have mattered if Tiger were Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist; he did what he did, what's done is done. The real question is what is he going to do about it and, perhaps more importantly, what is our reaction to what has happened? How do we treat him or anyone else in a similar situation?

    Sadly, Hume has thrown the "I'll-befriend-you-when-you-start-living-the-way-I-think-you-should" answer on the table. Thankfully, Jesus didn't approach people that way (but I recall that the Pharisees did).

  3. If Tiger's a sex addict, merely becoming Christian won't make the addictive behavior go away. As far as evangelism goes, there's a time and place for everything. Hume's advice is just another Fox News culture warrior shooting off his mouth.

  4. Hume's audience for this statement wasn't Tiger Woods. If it were, it would have been said in a much different forum. Hume's audience was the Christians who were listening to make them think better of themselves and less of Tiger Woods (as if that were possible). As such, it's rather embarrassing and offensive.

  5. And my I remind Mr. Hume

    "Judge not..."