| January 7, 2010
Should Tiger Woods Consider Christianity?
By Mike McManus
Brit Hume, former Fox News Anchor, now a commentator, touched off a
firestorm when he made some compassionate remarks about Tiger Woods on a
Sunday Fox show:
"Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a
person I think is a very open question. It is a tragic situation. He
has lost his family. It is not clear to me whether he will have a
relationship with his children.
"The Tiger Woods who emerges once his news value dies out of this
scandal - the extent to which he can recover seems to me to depend upon
his faith. He has said he is a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers
the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian
"So my message to Tiger is, `Tiger, turn to the Christian faith. You
can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world,'" Hume
His fellow panelists were stunned.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann aired Hume's remarks and sneered, "WOW! Hume's
attempting to inject religion in a discussion of Tiger Woods, and says
one religion is better than another."
Dan Savage, a guest, agreed: "Being Christian is the best religion
because it offers a `get out of adultery free card, like Mark Sanford
and David Vitter. It is an insult to Christianity. Didn't his mother
tell him, `Never discuss religion in public?'"
Olbermann described the "Peter Pan quality" of Hume's remarks, "Our God
can beat up their God."
Tom Shales, who reviews TV for "The Washington Post," was also
contemptuous "of his trying to compare two of the world's great
religions…Is it really his job to run around trying to drum up new
business? He doesn't really have that authority, does he, unless one
believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize?"
A blogger nailed Shales directly with this arrow, "You've managed to
offend over 70 percent of Americans who call themselves Christian. I
know you're probably an agnostic or even an atheist, so you won't
understand, but `proselytizing' is a tenet of Christianity. Ever read
Matthew 18:19, sir?"
Bill O'Reilly gave Hume an opportunity to respond on his Monday show,
asking if he was proselytizing, "I don't think so," replied Hume,
adding, "Tiger Woods needs something that Christianity offers,
forgiveness and redemption."
"Remember Chuck Colson, a leading light of Watergate?"
O'Reilly replied, "He made a true conversion."
And what did that conversion produce? Colson created Prison Fellowship,
which over 30 years brought tens of thousands of volunteers into
prisons, giving millions of inmates genuine hope for a new life. A
single transformed life can impact millions.
Knowing that, Hume responded, "If Tiger Woods made a true conversion, we
would know it. It would be a magnificent thing to witness."
It would indeed.
O'Reilly asked why Hume's observations sparked so many negative jibes at
"It has always been a puzzling thing to me that if you even speak of
Jesus Christ (and I did not use his name in my remarks), all hell breaks
loose. It is explosive. I simply spoke of the Christian faith. But that
triggers a very powerful reaction in people who do not share the faith
and do not believe in it. It always has."
Jesus predicted this would happen: "If the world hates you, keep in mind
that it hated me first… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you
also (John 15:18-20).
Many Buddhists have been puzzled by the controversy. They don't believe
Hume denigrated their religion, but simply described it. As one
Buddhist blogger put it, "Buddhism doesn't offer redemption and
forgiveness in the same way that Christianity does. Buddhism has no
concept of sin. Redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are
meaningless in Buddhism."
Hume's critics are disingenuous in claiming to be offended by Hume's
elevation of Christianity as a better answer than Buddhism. The fact is
that Christianity does offer a better answer.
What prompted Brit Hume to offer the Christian faith as an answer? More
than a decade ago, Hume described his own conversion and what motivated
it: "I came to Christ in a way that was very meaningful to me," in the
aftermath of his son's suicide.
Tiger Woods ought to explore the Christian faith and consider Brit
Hume's compassionate advice. If he made a genuine conversion, went back
to playing golf and being faithful to his wife and children - he would
likely be forgiven by them in time as well as by his fans.
Tiger Woods could become his generation's Chuck Colson.
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