Would Christian Brit Hume Have Said to Glenn Beck (a Mormon) What He Said to Tiger Woods (a Buddhist)?

To gage Brit Hume’s sincerity in extending a nationally televised public invitation to Buddhist Tiger Woods to become a Christian (for the proper sort of “forgiveness” supposedly not available to Woods otherwise), I think that we can ask one simple question: why hasn’t Hume ever made such a public invitation to television personalities from other faiths, such as Bill Kristol (who is Jewish) or Glenn Beck (who is Mormon)?

Why the singling out of a Buddhist?

I think the answer is straightforward: one invitation—that to Woods—has no political downside (how many Fox News watching Buddhists do you know?), while the others split the rightist Teabagger Coalition. For Hume, public expressions of religiosity are obviously linked to political calculation. Indeed, they’re scarcely distinguishable: his religion energizes his politics; his politics energizes his religion. Call it, not the Christianity of the historical Jesus (whatever that might have been), but Fox News Christianity: a smug, materialist, calculating, and right-wing politicized form of 21st century “godliness.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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14 Responses to Would Christian Brit Hume Have Said to Glenn Beck (a Mormon) What He Said to Tiger Woods (a Buddhist)?

  1. “why hasn’t Hume ever made such a public invitation to television personalities from other faiths, such as Bill Kristol (who is Jewish) or Glenn Beck (who is Mormon)?”

    Brit Hume hasn’t given a public invitation to the two mentioned above, because they have not been involved in a sex scandal that garners national attention and threatens their careers as Woods’ moral misstep has threatened his reputation and his impressive and amazing career. I wrote a very short piece on my opinion of this a couple of days ago and it shocks me how this just won’t go away. It was one comment on a political commentary slot on t.v. If Brit were a Muslim, he probably would have implored Mr. Woods to convert to Islam.

  2. TomH says:

    I heard the invitation with some surprise. I detected no smugness in the invitation. Rather, the invitation seemed quite tentative. I consider it to have been risky and very much in the tradition of free speech and freedom of religion. I suspect that Hume put his job on the line.

  3. santitafarella says:

    Phoenix:

    Oh, I see. Kristol and Beck are just sleepy, run of the mill, sinners—larding up huge amounts of money in the right-wing TV biz—a practice contrary to the words of Jesus that people should not hoard earthly treasures. But if someone engages in sexual bad behavior—that’s the sin that perks up Brit Hume!

    Convenient.

    And even if we stick with the sexual sins of people from non-Christian faiths, Hume has never seen fit to call anyone else out like this before.

    Oh, and Beck’s had at least one divorce, right? That’s one more than Tiger has had.

    —Santi

    • Santi,

      I trust that Kistol and Beck have made missteps as well, but their’s have not been made a national and media spectacle. It’s one of those ‘right time, right place’ things that can be forturnate or (in Tiger’s case) unfortuneate. The media is relentless at times to folks from both sides of the fence. I felt Hume sincere and well-meaning regardless of whether he should or should not have made the statement. Tolerance and all that, you know.

  4. santitafarella says:

    TomH:

    Hume’s free to say it. It’s not about his rights. My problem is with his icky hypocricy, and the patronizing nature of the invitation (toward both Tiger, as an adult, and Buddhism as a serious religious tradition). That’s my freedom of speech in response.

    —Santi

  5. santitafarella says:

    Phoenix:

    If Hume was sincere, why didn’t he just call Tiger on the phone and make the invitation in private? That’s a different matter entirely. I could respect that, and that would show respect for Tiger as a man. But here he is, proclaiming himself a “Christian”, gossiping on national television concerning Tiger’s private life, and feeding off the man’s indignity, then inviting him to abandon his religious tradition for Hume’s.

    What a joke.

    Brit’s “Christianity” is a buffet—he picks a bit from here (sex sin is bad) and ignores a bit from there (talking about a person’s private life in public, fueling discussion of it in contradiction of James 3 that one should not gossip), and mixes it all with his right-wing politics. It’s all very, very yucky.

    Oh, and Fox News “Christians” might think about James chapter 5 (before they go about offering to draw the sliver from other peoples’ eyes).

    —Santi

  6. santitafarella says:

    Tom and Phoenix:

    What would Fox News do without the gold hoarding and selling advertisers that sponsor their programs (in direct contradiction of James 5:2-6)?

    —Santi

    • Santi,

      I know the passage of which you speak. We do live in a capitalistic, free market country wherein all income isn’t shared equally with all others. Does that make our entire way of life against the word of G-d? I believe we are, as individuals, all called to use our resources in ways to help others whether “individual” means corporation (legally an individual) or human person. When we are greedy, we are fallen, yes, but one has to make money to do things for others that requires money. We don’t know if Glenn or Brit use considerable amounts of money for charities and helping those in need or not.

      I respect your opinion and do enjoy a healthy discussion, but I think you are taking a comment by a pundit much too seriously.

      Furthermore, none of us will ever TRULY know what was in Brit’s heart when he gave the invitation. Only he and G-d know that. EVEN if Brit was smug (and we don’t know) and remiss, G-d takes what was meant for evil by men and uses it for good.

  7. santitafarella says:

    Phoenix:

    I can accept everything that you said in your last comment. I do, however, marvel at the compartmentalizations of human beings (including my own compartmentalizations). We all seem capable of noticing some things even as we ignore or shrug off other things. I attribute this ability to disassociate to the intimate relation between our contingent fantasy life and desires with our deeply held beliefs. What we believe is frequently based, not on a rational estimate of the truth of a matter, but on what makes us comfy—or confirms us in our prejudices—or functions as a solution to what we think ails us. In Freudian terms, this is our waking dream—our “evocative object world”—the things we notice because we are (subconsciously) looking for them and salivate to them. We then (after the fact) call what we single out as important as the highest reason (justly understood). Ultimately, our motives may not be—indeed, probably are not—known to us. This is a good reason to exercise at least some restraint in judging or advising others.

    Amen?

    —Santi

  8. doucementgently says:

    While some people don’t agree, perhaps Brit considers Mormons (The Church of _Jesus Christ_ of Latter-day Saints) to also be Christians.

    I was always more fond of Tony Snow.

  9. andrewclunn says:

    I’ve gone to tea parties. your use of the term ‘teabagger’ is a real turn off to my respecting your opinion. Just thought you should know.

  10. Roger Salyer says:

    Santi

    You post a very apt question, with all its implications, and you have the right answer.

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