Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


A Yeah for Brit Hume!

posted by Douglas Howe

I wish to formally nominate television newscaster and commentator Brit Hume for, well, whatever I can nominate him for!
You’ve probably heard by now about the controversy and web buzz because a television commentator suggested that a public figure who has encountered personal difficulties consider the Christian faith as part of his restorative process. The actual clip which started the firestorm is here. Beliefnet’s own Ethan Nichtern has captured quite a bit here. There’s also a great audio link from NPR here.
The core of the controversy stems from these words from Brit Hume, while appearing as part of a panel on Fox News:

“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 would be, Tiger, turn your faith, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”
Way ta go, Brit!!
Really, the genius of his statement was sublime. First, let’s consider what this was not. Mr. Hume’s comments were not those of a televangelist. They were not the words of a megachurch preacher. They were not the words of a Christian author peddling his or her latest book. Nor was he playing the role of a religious leader trying to raise money for his cause.
Further, his message was not one of condemnation towards everyone who is Buddhist. It was not a pronouncement of where Mr. Woods–or anyone else for that matter–would be spending their eternity. Nor was it of the pulpit-banging ilk that so many people associate with spokespeople for the Christian faith.
Brit Hume spoke up for a faith tradition that offers hope and help for those who are hurting, for those with habits and hang-ups who’re looking for a better way. He spoke to that component of Christianity that gets so darn little coverage on TV: the forgiveness, peace and empowerment that comes when one is loved by the God of the universe and in a personal relationship with Him.
I have no problem with those who would choose another faith system, or believe that another message was more viable than that of Christ, or those who would choose to believe that other texts are more reliable than the Bible.
But Brit Hume has suffered criticism for even suggesting that Tiger Woods consider Christianity as an option. If our cultural paranoia has become so great that even the suggestion of a faith consideration is considered offensive, then we’ll soon be at a place where no one will ever want to say anything of substance, and merely those who get themselves in trouble will dominate the tabloids and news. (Hmnnn, are we already there yet? Okay, we’ll leave that for another post later.)
We have far too many commentary shows which spend far too much time with far too many people not saying anything of substance. When someone finally does, there are those who would cry that it’s out of place. I think if it were the norm, there wouldn’t be such an appearance of a problem, and Mr. Hume’s words would stand as what they were: one person’s perspective on how the Christian faith could intersect the life of someone in need and produce a better result for his life. That is a hopeful message, one I hope was not lost in a blogosphere usually more amped by controversy and more prone to line up behind common patterns rather than uncommon wisdom. And I further hope it wasn’t lost on Tiger Woods.
I’m sorry that this all came up too late in the year to nominate Brit Hume for Beliefnet.com’s Most Inspirational Person of the Year. I hope we remember him come December when we make the 2010 nominations!



  • Norris Hall

    I don’t have any problem with Brit Hume suggesting that Tiger Woods give Brit’s religion a try.
    What I think was stupid was his statement “I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.”
    That statement summarizes the pettiness of most religions nowadays.
    Everyone thinks their religion is right…that there is something defective about other religions…and the way to a better life is through their religion.
    Yet Look at where people are killing each other today… and you will probably find it’s one religious group against another. Sunni, Shiites, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Muslims…from Iraq to India to Ireland to Malaysia. People are fighting and killing in the name of God.
    And the ironic part about it is that most all religions have the same message: love ,forgiveness, peace, and charity. So it’s sad to see people from one religion denigrating the merits of another religion
    Glad I’m not a religious person.

  • Kauko

    I think you clearly need to read Hume’s statement again if you don’t think it was in any belittling towards Buddhism. All that he managed to express was his profound ignorance about Buddhism and its own power to help people turn their lives around for the better.

  • steven joseph rotolo

    One question, does Christianity bestow on the follower a license to offend? Furthermore, why would anyone think that Christianity is superior to Buddhism? Has Brit Hume forgotten about Jim Baker, Ted Haggard, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart, and… well the list of adulterous Christian leaders is endless?
    What about George Tiller who killed an abortionist in the name of the Christian God and showed no remorse? Really, there is a long list of Christians who have murdered and bombed abortion clinics in the name of God and who not only did not show remorse but seemed to be in rapturous ecstasy about it. When was the last time you heard of Kamikaze Buddhists or murdering in the name of Buddha?
    And why does Brit Hume think that Tiger Woods needs redemption and forgiveness? Those are not to be found in the Buddhist doctrine, and as such Tiger Woods needs to fix his problems himself and find the correct path to Nirvana himself and not rely in anyone outside himself. That is the Buddhist doctrine, an ethical path to bliss unencumbered by the fanatism that so often accompanies Christianity and as exemplified by the zealot Brit Hume.
    I am Catholic and I do believe in the good news of Jesus Christ, but I also firmly believe that God speaks to different people in different ways, and whether you follow Buddha, Christ, Nature, Mohammed, Zoroaster, or any of the many Hindu deities, it is God who is behind them all and he will guide you to salvation using whatever flavor suits you best.
    Brit Hume, go ahead and spread the good news if you must, but do so respectfully of all other religions.

  • Mary DuCoin

    Good job, Mr. Hume! You were sincere, matter of fact, and spoke with the compassion for Mr. Woods. You did not force or demean any religion, only spoke the truth. All of my neighborhood supports you on this issue.

  • QuantDum

    >Good job, Mr. Hume! You were sincere, matter of fact, and spoke >with the compassion for Mr. Woods. You did not force or demean any >religion, only spoke the truth. All of my neighborhood supports you >on this issue.
    If you say Brit “only spoke the truth” we need to know what that truth is, since you say it did not demean any religion. Let’s first deal with the fact that there was only one other religion being talked about here, yet you did not have the respect to call it by name, you were too lazy to respect God in this instance because you think he is not in Buddhism. So instead you used the word “any” when there was only one other specific religion being spoken about. What you and Brit have done is the very meaning of demeaning, which in the dictionary is defined as follows. “to lower in dignity, honor, or standing”. You and Brit hold Buddhism as less than Christianity. You do not hold Buddhism as equal to Christianity, only being different by its rituals. Doing that is what is meant by demeaning. NOTE that the fact that Buddhist’s are said to not believe in God, is highly misunderstood by Christians. To explain this in terms that you might be able to find meaning in, Buddhists are too close to God to ever have the separation that you are trying to overcome by getting closer. If you start by believing that you are immersed in God’s love and wisdom, then you never think of God being separate, nor do you ever ask him to fix your selfish little life. You just follow his noble truths.

  • http://richardtgarner.blogspot.com Rick Garner

    You either believe the same as Brit Hume – that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light and that no one comes to the Father but through Him…and Tiger needs to ask forgiveness for his sins to receive Christ’s forgiveness and love – or you believe there are other ways to do this. Forget whether or not Hume should’ve shared the advice at that time, on that program, or in his role. You either believe what he said is correct or wrong. Read more about it in “Politics and Religion: Knowing Little But Never Being Wrong” – http://richardtgarner.blogspot.com/2010/01/politics-and-religion-knowing-little.html

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