In Theory

In response to questions about part-time Newport-Mesa resident and pro golfer Tiger Woods, who recently admitted to having extramarital affairs, Fox News commentator Brit Hume had this to say: “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 can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”

In your opinion, should Brit Hume apologize to Buddhists for his on-air remarks about that religion, and is it appropriate for Hume to promote Christianity over other religions?

What happened to free speech? Brit Hume was asked his opinion and he gave it. He said nothing wrong. He is aware of God’s love and mercy and decided to share it with the viewers.

Why must we be so concerned with being politically correct these days? People can and do publicly bash Christianity with immunity (which evidently is not politically incorrect). Brit Hume did not bash Buddhism; he simply stated one difference between what Buddhism has to offer compared with what Christianity has to offer.

To directly answer the questions, no apology is necessary and it is not inappropriate for Hume, in his role as commentator (not as a news anchor) to share his Christian beliefs with whoever wishes to listen to him.

Fr. Stephen Doktorczyk

St. Joachim Church

While we Christians believe that forgiveness and redemption come through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I feel it is presumptive to believe that any religion not associated with a belief in Jesus has no method of obtaining forgiveness or redemption.

In Buddhism, the violation of an ethical code subscribed to provides its own punishment both here and in the hereafter. While Buddhism does not rely on a belief in a God-Creator, it does subscribe to a clearly refined code of ethics that provide an admirable guide for living. Anyone with close ties to those of the Buddhist faith know the distinctive character of kindness and caring they exhibit.

It was uncomfortable for me to read of Mr. Hume’s “invitation” in a public forum for Woods to change his religion.

Hume’s approach to chastising Woods because of not being a Christian shows that he (Hume) has not done his homework. Begging the question of having better morals, if you’re of one faith or another, demands specific evidence of improved moral behavior of believers of that religion.

But how can we measure moral behavior of different religious faiths or of no faith? Our prison system is a good barometer — and one good look at how Christians fare compared with other faiths shows that being a Christian does not mean you have better moral behavior.

In fact, all of the other faiths have less population in prison than Christianity based on per-capita basis. Christians fare far worse in many other social behaviors: divorce, pregnancy, abortion and family violence. Hume would have been more accurate if he would have said that Tiger should convert to atheism or secular humanism, both of which are very peaceful philosophies.

It takes only a few moments of clarity to see that Christianity, although the most popular religion in America, does not represent the most moral religious group in America.

Since I don’t watch Fox News I didn’t witness the comment. However, I personally find it incredibly offensive any time anyone proselytizes, especially to someone who already has a religious tradition.

It is particularly offensive that he would try and dismiss Buddhism as somehow a choice of practice that is “less than” Christianity. This is just another example of our biased media that pretends to deliver news, but in actuality promotes their very narrow perspective and agenda. It makes Christians look like egocentric, ethnocentric exclusionists who presume that the only way to be right in this world is to be Christian.

The truth is that there are actually some of us who believe that Christianity is one way of many, and do not think that the only way to “make a total recovery” is to convert, but rather encourage people to find a path that is best suited for them.

Brit Hume should apologize to Buddhists for insulting their beliefs, as well as to Christians for presuming that we agree with him, and to all of his audience for promoting his own beliefs and biases.

The Rev. Sarah Halverson

Fairview Community Church

I believe Hume needs a refresher course in Buddhism. In Buddhism the spiritual goal is to empty oneself of all the things that prevent right balance and harmony. If you are not seeking forgiveness for wrongs done or wrongs envisioned in your imagination, then you are holding on to evil, and moving farther from harmony. In Buddhism, as in golf, the intention is to have the fewest or lowest karma score. Tiger has been racking up so much bad karma, he is probably close to not making the cut.

As a Christian, I am also confused by Hume’s comments about forgiveness. I would hope Hume’s intention is the repair of Tiger’s soul, not the promotion of Christianity. The idea of converting to the Christian faith as a means to achieve forgiveness misses the point. Tiger does not need to seek God’s forgiveness. God already forgave him. The real work, harder than any golf championship, is for him to seek the forgiveness of his wife and those he wounded.

Furthermore, both Christianity and Buddhism stress that forgiveness for a misdeed is not a one-time confession, but a lifetime of work with fundamental shifts in mind, habits and lifestyle. His greatest challenge will be the work of his soul.

Mesa Verde United Methodist Church

“Fair and balanced!” Humbug!

I would counter that Tiger Woods embrace Judaism, a faith featuring a vast theology of forgiveness and redemption. On second thought, the Jewish people have enough to deal with already.

As a spiritual imperialist, Brit Hume would no doubt be comfortable hosting a new Turkish game show that brings on 10 atheists per segment and allows clerics representing four religions the opportunity to convert them. A Muslim imam, a Greek Orthodox priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk compete to win over the nonbelievers to their faith. Contestants who “see the light” win a pilgrimage to Mecca, Jerusalem or Tibet.

I am not sure that what Jesus thinks of Tiger Woods is as relevant at this moment as what his wife and family think of him. More than divine absolution for his repellent behavior, what Tiger Woods needs to attain now is a sense of personal responsibility.

Rabbi Mark S. Miller


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