ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–During a recent segment on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume suggested that Tiger Woods consider Christianity to help the golfing great recover from his recent personal crisis involving revelations of adultery. Several left-leaning pundits went absolutely apoplectic over the former anchor’s brief bit of advice.
Following is Hume’s response to the Tiger Woods situation:
“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether or not he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can recover — seems to me to depend upon his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; 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 to the Christian faith and you make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”
Any reasonable person would view Hume’s remarks as measured and caring.
However, several liberal members of the media characterized Hume’s advice to Woods as hateful, intolerant, ignorant, foolish and arrogant.
Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” compared Hume’s comment to that of “Islamic extremists.” Olbermann went on to assert that Hume did not know his own religion let alone “somebody else’s,” presumably Buddhism.
Jay Bookman, a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, called Hume “arrogant” for his advice to Woods.
Tom Shales, television critic for the Washington Post, indicated that Hume’s remark would be remembered “as one of the most ridiculous of the year.”
What these and other liberal members of the media reveal with their over-reactions to Hume’s innocuous remarks is a complete ignorance of the two religions discussed and an intense hostility toward Christianity.
Hume’s comments came during a segment on Fox News Sunday where a panel of pundits discusses their insights — their opinions, on current events. As such, Hume was not acting as a reporter but as a commentator. His sharing of his subjective point-of-view was absolutely appropriate. In fact, it was what was expected.
When Hume said that Buddhism doesn’t offer “the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith,” he was making a theologically correct statement. A Buddhist journalist, Barbara Hoetsu recently wrote at About.com, “Buddhism doesn’t offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does.”
“Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense is meaningless in Buddhism,” she wrote.
When in Japan years ago, I spoke to a Buddhist priest about the idea of God and forgiveness. He told me that Buddhism does not really have a concept of a divine being much less a personal God. So, he said, a person receiving forgiveness is a foreign concept to a Buddhist.
The priest went on to tell me that there was no concept of sin in Buddhism. He said there were only smart actions and foolish actions. Smart actions produced good karma and foolish brought about bad karma.
Karma, as was explained to me by the priest, is the law of moral causation. The belief in karma is fundamental in Buddhism. In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve. In other words “what goes around comes around.” Hence, the priest said, a person cannot be forgiven for foolish actions; he or she must overcome them by their own effort.
In contrast, Christianity offers complete and total forgiveness for foolish, selfish, sinful actions. The central tenet in Christianity is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of everyone. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that a person is incapable of overcoming his or her sin by self effort.
Jesus said that it is not the healthy that needed healing, but the sick. Christianity is for sin sick humans. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection offers the hope of a fresh start to liars, cheaters, murderers, rapists, alcoholics, drug addicts, adulterers and all other sinners.
Brit Hume was simply offering advice to Tiger Woods that he himself has embraced. Now you tell me who is really intolerant and ignorant — Hume or the Keith Olbermanns of the world?
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.